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THE BALKAN 
COCKPIT 




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T. WERNER LAURIE Ltd. 
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CONSTANTINE XII, KIKG OF THE HELLENES. 



THE BALKAN 
COCKPIT 

THE POLITICAL AND MILITARY 

STORY OF THE BALKAN WARS 

IN MACEDONIA 

BY 

W. H. CRAWFURD PRICE 



WITH AUTOGRAPHED PHOTOGRAPHS AND MANY 
ILLUSTRATIONS BY H.R.H. PRINCE NICHOLAS OF 
GREECE AND THE AUTHOR, AND SPECIALLY 
DRAWN MAPS OF THE MILITARY OPERATIONS. 

















LONDON 
T. WERNER LAURIE LTD. 

8 ESSEX STREET, STRi^ND 



PREFACE 

Several circumstances have combined to retard the 
pubHcation of these reminiscences of the epoch- 
making events which have opened a new chapter 
in Balkan history. Delay in such cases has its 
advantages. If some vivid impressions are lost, we 
are, on the other hand, able to correct too hastily 
drawn conclusions and to appreciate moves on the 
diplomatic chess-board which were, at the time, 
incomprehensible. 

Many excellent and instructive books have been 
written on the Thracian campaign. Others have 
arrived to describe the experiences of war corres- 
pondents with one or other of the rival armies. 1 
propose, however, to work along somewhat different 
lines. Stationed in the capital city of Macedonia, 
I was able to watch the rise and fall of Young 
Turkey, the temporary burial of the blood-stained 
Christian hatchets, the collapse of Ottoman civil and 
military power, the triumphal progress of the Greek, 
Servian and Bulgarian armies in Macedonia, the 
breakdown of the Balkan Alliance and the subse- 
quent war between the quondam allies. 

All these passing events I have sought to weave 
into a story. I have, as far as possible, avoided dry 

V 



vl PREFACE 

military and historical detail, and though the soldier 
will find much that is instructive, and the historian 

much that is valuable in the succeeding pages, my 

object has primarily been to interest the " man in 

the street," and to bring him into closer touch with 

the fascinating tale of Macedonian strife. 

If, with the facts before me, I have had occasion 
to somewhat severely criticise the Bulgarians, I beg 
them remember that they have so long feasted upon 
praise and flattery, that they must not complain if I 
have found it necessary to suggest that their actions 
have not always been in keeping with what one had 
been led to expect from Christian conquerors. To 
render justice is often to condemn, and if, as I 
believe, my statements cannot be disproved, then I 
submit that my criticism has been both fair and 
merited. 

The Turks, too, must realise that the motive of 
this book has necessitated my pointing out their 
failures and not their virtues. The Constitutionalists 
did many good things, but these were not instru- 
mental in bringing about the Balkan War. " The 
evil that men do lives after them ; the good is oft 
interred with their bones." Many of us have reason 
to regret the departure of old and dear Turkish 
friends, and our regret will — if I mistake not — be 
shared by many among the Christian populations of 
Thrace and Macedonia who will henceforth live 
under alien rule. 

Greeks and Servians will find little that is un- 
pleasant in my criticisms. That result is again due 



PREFACE vii 

to themselves rather than to any desire on my part 
to mete out more sympathetic treatment. Neither 
were faultless. Both had to deal with an enormous 
and unexpected extension of territory, and " war is 
hell." But, on the whole, they carried through their 
difficult task with highly commendable ability and 
humanity, and their conduct inevitably stands out in 
sharp contrast to that of their neighbours. 

My acknowledgments are due to my journal for 
the use of extracts from my dispatches. 

C. P. 

[Note. — The author had no opportunity of correcting the 
proofs of this book, as he was at the war while it was being 
printed.] 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. PAGE 

I. THE CONSTITUTIONAL REGIME IN TURKEY . I 

II. THE NURSERY OF DISCONTENT ... 7 

III. THE BEGINNING OF THE END .... 30 

IV. "vers la guerre" 29 

V. THE great BALKAN WAR * ... 43 

VI. THE BATTLE OF SARANDAPORON ... 58 

VII. THE BATTLE OF KOUMANOVO .... 67 

VIII. THE WORK OF THE GREEK NAVY ... 79 

IX. THE BATTLE OF YENIDJE'VARDAR ... 86 

X. THE TURKISH DEBACLE 96 

XI. SALONIKA BEFORE THE OCCUPATION . . 104 

XII. TOWARDS SURRENDER II3 

XIII. THE CAPITULATION OF SALONIKA . . • II7 

XIV. SALONIKA AFTER THE CAPITULATION . . 139 
XV. FROM USKUB TO MONASTIR . . . -149 

XVI. DEFEAT AND VICTORY 163 

XVII. THE BULGARIAN MARCH TO SALONIKA . . 168 

XVIII. THE GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE . . -185 

XIX. THE GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE — continued 199 

XX. THE LAST DAYS OF KING GEORGE OF GREECE 220 

XXI. THE SERBO-GRECIAN ALLIANCE . . .231 

XXII. THE WAR OF THE ALLIES .... 243 

ix 



X CONTENTS 

CHAP. 

XXIII. THE STAB IN THE BACK 

XXIV. THE OPENING MOVES • 

XXV. THE BATTLE OF KILKICH 

XXVI. THE CAPTURE OF DOIRAN 
XXVII. STRUMNITZA AND DEMIR HISSAR 

XXVIII. MOUNTAIN WARFARE 
XXIX. BULGARIAN ATROCITIES 

APPENDIX .... 



FAGB 
263 

284 

316 

328 

345 
361 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



while 



Constantine XII., King of the Hellenes 

A Retrospect. King- Peter at Salonika during the 

Turkish Regime 

An Escort of Turkish Gendarmery in Macedonia 
Greek Tobacco Growers in Macedonia 
Macedonian Vallach Peasants 
A Bulgar-Macedonian School at Pozar 

Albanian Volunteers 

The Theatre of Operations in Macedonia {map) 
The Greek Army — An Outpost Action 
The Greek Army — In the Trenches 

After Koumanovo — Author snapped unawares 
photographing Refugees at Salonika 

Turkish Cruiser Messudiyeh at Salonika 

Turkish Cruiser Geoi'gtos Aver off aX Salonika 

Yenidje-Vardar {map) 

The Greek Army — Artillery in Action 

The Greek Army — On the Shores of Lake Yenidje 

The Greek Advance on Salonika {map) 

Pashitch 

The Greek Army — Scouting 

The Greek Army — At Rest 

Venezelos ..... 

H.R.H. Prince Nicholas of Greece 

The Spot where King George fell 

King George's last Birthday 

H.R.H. Prince Alexander of Servia 

The Heliograph at work 

Bulgarian Shell embedded in a Tree 

The Serbo-Bulgar Campaign {map) 

xi 



Fror 


tisptece 


Facing page 2 


>. 


2 


„ 


lO 


i» 


lO 


II 


i8 


II 


i8 


II 


56 


II 


6o 


II 


6o 


II 


70 


II 


80 


II 


80 


II 


86 


i» 


90 


1. 


90 


11 


103 


II 


150 


i> 


164 


II 


164 


II 


186 


II 


204 


»» 


220 


i> 


220 


it 


232 


II 


244 


11 


244 


II 


250 



xii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Prince Alexander of Greece and Prince Aage of 
Denmark dig a Drain from their Tent at 
Livournovo Facing page 260 

Bridge over the Struma River at Derbend ... „ 260 

Houses in Salonika „ 376 

The Battle of Kilkich {map) ,,282 

George, Duke of Sparta „ 286 

Stores abandoned by Bulgarians „ 304 

Bulgarian prisoners of war „ 304 

Advance of Greek Left after Doiran .... „ 314 

King Constantine at Hadji Bejlik .... „ 320 

The Greek Prince in the Field ,, 322 

In the Kresna Pass — Greek Sappers make a Road for 

the Passage of Artillery „ 330 

In the Kresna Pass — A Pontoon Bridge built by 

Greek Engineers „ 330 

At Salonika — The Turkish Mayor congratulates King 

Constantine on the Greek Victories ... „ 34° 

At Livournovo — King Constantine in meditation . „ 340 

The Town of Serres — Destroyed by the Bulgarians , „ 348 



THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

CHAPTER I 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL REGIME IN TURKEY 

Though the " Star and Crescent " had floated for 
centuries over the Government offices, though fez- 
crowned governors meted out Oriental justice in the 
Turkish tongue, and though, in town and country, 
the evidences of power denoted the supreme place 
held by the Moslems, it must not be supposed that 
the subject races of Macedonia ever considered 
these other than the signs of a temporary occupa- 
tion, or that they failed to ceaselessly work, pray, 
and agitate for the day when, to their certain belief, 
the Turk should be sent back to Asia. Nor is it 
possible to dissociate these ideas of territorial expan- 
sion from the critical situation which continued to 
exist in the Orient until the Balkan War sealed the 
fate of Mohammedan power in Europe. The Christian 
races hated the Turk, who, knowing this, not only 
strove to safeguard his position, but further sought 
to impress upon his neighbours a due appreciation 
of his predominant force. The attitude of Bulgaria 
and Greece to Turkey was irrevocably bound up 

1 A 



2 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

with the relations of their co-reUgionists to their 
governors within the Ottoman Empire itself. 

When, in November, 1908, the first delegates to 
the new Ottoman Parliament arrived at Constanti- 
nople, Constitutionalism ran riot. I heard Moslem 
deputies speak of the glorious events that had 
ushered in an era of equality for all the myriad races 
of the Empire. I saw turbaned Turkish Hodjas, 
smock-frocked Greek and Bulgarian priests, and 
gabadined Jewish Rabbis unitedly heading trium- 
phal processions, the while the air was rent with 
shouts of " Brotherhood." 

Two years later one could have safely said that 
whatever conscientious endeavour the Turks may 
have put forth to act up to their fraternal promises, 
their efforts had been singularly unsuccessful. It 
may be held that their actions were misinterpreted ; 
it may be advanced that, do what they might, the 
Mohammedans could never have convinced their 
fellow-citizens of the honesty of their intentions; 
but the fact remains that ere twenty-four fleeting 
months had passed, inter-religious strife was more 
acute, and the mutual mistrust of Moslem and 
Christian was, if anything, greater than before the 
Constitution. There was evident an entire lack of 
confidence which even the Turks no longer attempted 
to conceal. During the summer of 19 10, in explain- 
ing the Government's point of view to me, the 
unseen head of the Young Turkish Party informed 
me that they wanted the Christians to look upon 
them as a " Paternal Government." The vital 
importance of the admission doubtless escaped him, 
but I was forcibly impressed by the difference 




A RETROSPECT. 
King Peter at Salonika during tlie Turkish Regieme. 




AN ESCORT OF TURKISH (iEXDARMERY IN MACKDoXlA. 



THE CONSTITUTIONAL REGIME 3 

between a "Paternal Government" and the 
" Brotherhood " of which I had heard so much two 
years previously. 

Yet a further departure from the paths of Con- 
stitutionalism was indicated in the statement made 
to me about the same time by a highly placed official 
that " Macedonia has always been held by force, 
and we too must hold it by force." Young Turkish 
policy had already confirmed this attitude, and the 
Christian races had received abundant proofs that 
the Mussulmans intended to be recognised as 
masters in their own country. 

I have always held that Europe was in a 
very large measure responsible for the deplorable 
travesty of Constitutional Government offered by 
the Committee of Union and Progress. The slave 
elevated to power becomes often the worst of 
tyrants ; the youth pushed into position beyond his 
years anon develops an overbearing manner ; the 
uneducated, sufficiently flattered, startle mankind by 
their arrogance. As with individuals, so with com- 
munities. The mere organisation of a bloodless 
revolution did not transform an intelligent telegraph 
clerk into a wise Minister of the Interior, or an 
eloquent schoolmaster into a sagacious Minister of 
Finance, any more than the course of history was 
changed by the mere act of overthrowing a despot 
and setting up parliamentary government in his 
stead. The Young Turks lacked experience, and 
it is little wonder that they lost their heads. The 
fault lay not so much with them as with the Europe 
which flatteringly hailed them as twentieth-century 
reformers, dubbed them " Gladstones," " Bismarcks," 



4 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

" Napoleons," and the like, and gave over un- 
reservedly a mighty, complex empire into their 
inexperienced hands. With a criminal disregard 
for the lessons of recent history, European statesmen 
put on rose-coloured spectacles, reclined on diplo- 
matic divans, and saw little save prospective valuable 
commercial concessions in the smoke which curled 
from the Ottoman " hubble-bubble." 

Enthusiasm got the better of judgment. The 
unconditional acceptance of the new order of things 
by the Powers, the fatal surrender of International 
control in Macedonia and the increased power 
vested in an untried Constitution, were no less 
unfortunate for the Young Turks than for the 
populations which they were so suddenly called upon 
to govern. If, while welcoming the step in advance 
taken by Turkish democracy, and while manifesting 
a paternal interest in the development of Constitu- 
tional Government, the Powers had not only main- 
tained but temporarily strengthened their control 
over the gendarmery and the financial administration 
of Macedonia, the story might have had a different 
ending. The gendarmery, following the withdrawal 
of executive control from its foreign officers just as 
it was developing into a useful, crime-preventing 
body, went rapidly to pieces until little w^as left of 
it save the uniform. The benefits of the financial 
control were, in a large measure, preserved only by 
the transference of the International Commissioners 
to the Turkish Ministry of Finance. In short, at 
this stage, Europe should have insisted upon the 
appointment of Advisors with executive authority to 
aid the young, inexperienced Ottomans to carry on 



THE CONSTITUTIONAL REGIME 5 

the administration of the country in a constitutional 
manner. The Turks should have been given clearly 
to understand that they were on their trial and that 
their new government was accepted on approval 
only. 

Instead of this, chauvinism was allowed to get 
the upper hand. The young Orientals, with a thin 
veneer of Parisian mondainity or Berlin militarism, 
were puffed up until their heads swelled to bursting 
point, and we heard little save talk of the aboli- 
tion of the Capitulations, the Turkification of the 
Christian races and the progressive recapture of all 
the lands over which the " Star and Crescent " had 
once floated. I well remember, in the fall of 1908, 
travelling to Constantinople in company with a 
young ofhcer, who described to me how Greece, 
Bulgaria, Servia, Egypt, Tunis and Morocco were 
soon to become once again part of the Ottoman 
Empire. 

" And Spain," I queried, " are you not going to 
retake the old Moorish kingdom ? " 

" Yavash, yavash " (meaning in this sense " little 
by little "), he answered. " We cannot do it all at 
once." 

It cannot be gainsaid that the Christian Mace- 
donians while, as has already been stated, clinging 
to their Utopia of emancipation, at first accepted the 
promises of the Young Turks at their face value. 
The spectacle of rival " komitadji " leaders hugging 
one another in the streets of Salonika was absurdly 
picturesque, but it manifested the desire of the 
Macedonians to live at peace with one another 
and with the Constitutionalists. They thought that 



6 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

"Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality" really meant 
" Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality." They dis- 
covered their mistake long before it dawned upon 
a trusting Europe. The elections proved the first 
awakening. While I sympathised with the Young 
Turks in their determination to keep the power in 
their own hands in the first representative Chamber, 
the Christian view of Mussulman ideas of " Equality " 
received a rude shock when it found districts divided 
up in a wholly illogical manner and the elections 
scientifically farmed in order to ensure the return 
of a majority of Mohammedan deputies. 



CHAPTER II 

THE NURSERY OF DISCONTENT 

Universal Military Service. — The first really 
great blunder of the Young Turks, however, was 
the enlistment of Christians in the army. The 
Government's position was a somewhat difficult 
one. There was, in some directions, a demand 
on the part of the Christians to enjoy what they 
were pleased to call, for some unaccountable 
reason, "the right of serving their country." Many 
leading Young Turks, on the other hand, offered a 
determined opposition to the movement. Some dis- 
trusted the Christians; others feared the obvious 
unpopularity of the scheme. My own opinion, 
often expressed to the Committee leaders, was that 
the change was inadvisable on account of its radical 
nature, and I favoured the fixing of a time limit 
which would have delayed the application of univer- 
sal service to the non-Mussulmans until the next 
generation, schooled in the new-born idea of civil 
brotherhood, had reached an age at which it could 
be called upon to bear arms. The no-compromise 
party gained the day, however, and the Consti- 
tution was subjected to its first real strain, as a 
result of which its vitality was considerably 
weakened. 

7 



8 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Little attention need be paid to stories of alleged 
ill-treatment of the non-Mussulman recruits (though 
the reports current at the time were by no means 
unfounded), but the Christian enjoys a somewhat 
higher standard of living than the Moslem, and the 
conditions under which masses of men are herded 
together in the Turkish army are frankly unattrac- 
tive. Further, the average Mussulman soldier is so 
docile a creature that the sudden appearance of a 
stubborn Bulgar or an argumentative Greek in 
the ranks must have sorely tried the patience of 
many an old-fashioned Ottoman officer. Generally 
speaking, however, Turkish military men proved 
themselves much more tolerant than the civil officials, 
and it was not unfitting that the subsequent opposi- 
tion to Young Turkism should have had its origin 
in the army. 

But the conscription of non-Mussulmans was 
attended by consequences more immediately serious 
than the mere fomentation of discontent. Rather 
than join the Ottoman colours, thousands of young 
Christians — the very flower of Macedonia manhood 
— left factory, or field, or flock, and fled, the more 
honest of them to other climes, the rest to the 
mountains, there to augment the bands of political 
"komitadji," or highway robbers, with which the 
country-side was already infested. For a land 
already suffering acutely from a shortage of labour, 
the emigration of able-bodied youths was the more 
serious development. It still further diminished the 
yield of a magnificent agricultural country which, 
although under-populated, was nevertheless incap- 
able of accomplishing the primitive task of feeding 



THE NURSERY OF DISCONTENT 9 

itself. It meant a heavy addition to the already 
large percentage of uncultivated land ; it brought 
in its train increased poverty, and prepared the 
terrain for that revolutionary propaganda which 
so very quickly followed. 

It might have been expected that the gravity of 
this result of their lack of foresight would have been 
sufficiently obvious to have warranted the application 
of immediate remedial measures by the Young 
Turks. Strange as it may appear, however, the 
movement gave intense satisfaction to the more 
powerful and chauvinistic wing of the party. 
Dr Nazim Bey informed me with great enthusiasm 
that 1 200 young Greeks had quitted the Island of 
Lemnos alone in order to escape service in the Otto- 
man arniy, and wagged his head, wisdom-wise, when 
he added that this exodus would be a benefit to the 
Empire. 

"Why?" 

"Well, because they will be replaced by Mussul- 
mans from Bosnia ! " 

Those self-same Bosnians whom a Turkish Valli 
of Salonika had some few days previously charac- 
terised as " dirty and lazy." Empire-building, 
according to the most powerful wire-puller in the 
Committee of Union and Progress, consisted in the 
driving out of bodies of young, strong, intelli- 
gent natives, and the substitution in their stead 
of lazy, dirty, feeble, dull-witted aliens, incapable 
even of speaking the language of their adopted 
country. 

The Bosnian Immigration. — The normal unfold- 
ing of our story has brought us to the Bosnian 



10 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Immigration Scheme which, while it exercised 
but httle influence upon the march of events, 
is instructive in that it gives us an additional 
insight into Young Turk methods. It therefore 
warrants a passing attention. The importation of 
the Bosnian " Mohadjirs " was a serious attempt on 
the part of the chauvinist section of the Committee 
to " settle " the Macedonian question. The argu- 
ment was, in brief, as follows : 

In Macedonia to-day there are more Christians 
than Mussulmans. If we can increase the Moham- 
medan population until the followers of the prophet 
are in the majority, the infidels will be overpowered, 
and the " question " will automatically disappear. 
This method of reasoning was somewhat original, 
hardly statesmanlike, and frankly unconstitutional. 
But it triumphed without encountering serious oppo- 
sition, and then began the immigration of the dregs 
of Bosnia. I call them " dregs " advisedly, because 
no Bosnian worth anything in his own country would 
have dreamt of emigrating to Macedonia, even after 
he had listened to the enticing word-picture of 
Koranic bliss drawn for him by the silver-tongued 
emissaries of the Committee. 

Many thousands of the lower order of Bosnian 
Mussulmans w^ere, however, induced to pack up 
their rugs and coffee pots and come over into 
Turkey. For the furtherance of this propaganda 
enormous sums of money were expended from the 
private funds of the Committee, and the Govern- 
ment, while too poor to hand over a whittled-down 
pittance for the support of the widows and orphans 
of the Adana massacres, yet felt itself sufliciently 




GREEK TOBACCO GROWERS IN MACEDONIA. 




MACEDONIAN VALACH PEASANTS. 



THE NURSERY OF DISCONTENT 11 

rich to vote fortunes in aid of this new patriotic 
adventure. The " Mohadjirs " themselves, when 
they arrived, were dumped down often with a total 
disregard for their own needs or those of the district 
which received them, and an attempt was made to 
keep them alive by doles of money wholly insuffi- 
cient for even their meagre requirements. Once 
enticed to Macedonia, no adequate arrangements 
were made either for their present or future well- 
being, with the natural consequence that numbers of 
the immigrants subsequently returned to Bosnia at 
the expense of the Austrian Government. Many of 
those who remained found it necessary to steal to 
live, and some of them, caught in the act of stealing, 
degenerated to murder. I have already sufficiently 
enumerated their qualities to make it clear that they 
were anything but desirable citizens, and it is not 
unfitting that a large proportion of them should have 
been numbered among the refugees who, at a later 
date, fled before the Bulgarian advance, and that 
they should thereafter have been kept alive for 
months by funds subscribed for that purpose by 
the charitable public of Europe. The observant 
passer-by in Salonika might frequently, during the 
period following the Turkish war, have seen an 
Austrian Lloyd liner anchored off the Austrian 
Consulate General, and had he troubled to ask, he 
would have learned that those boat-loads of destitute 
humanity whom he saw being rowed off to the 
steamer were the last of Dr Nazim Bey's " Mohad- 
jirs " going back to their native Bosnia, 

The Disarmament. — The disarmament of the 
Macedonian population in 1910 had preceded some 



12 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

of the phases of the constitutional regime which we 
have already considered, but it exercised so para- 
mount an influence upon subsequent events and was 
so essentially the genesis of the Balkan League, 
that it demands special consideration at our 
hands. 

It cannot be denied that, in principle, the dis- 
armament of the Macedonian peasantry was a most 
necessary measure. When the Young Turks took 
up the reins of government they inherited a terrorised 
country in which every peasant was a walking 
arsenal. Men, armed by the Revolutionary Com- 
mittees, went their way with their " Mannlicher " 
or " Gras " slung over their backs, and bands of 
murderous ruffians infested the mountains, seeking 
every opportunity for slaughter and pillage. Peace- 
ful inhabitants lived under a reign of terror, and, 
on many occasions, when journeying in the interior, 
have I passed along a blood-stained defile where a 
group of unfortunate peasants had met their death 
from bandits' bullets fired from the heights above. 
As a measure to establish security of life in the 
country, the disarmament was therefore an admir- 
able conception. 

While the Turkish Government should be credited 
with an honest desire to suppress banditism and out- 
rage, it is undeniable that they were infinitely more 
concerned by the presence in Macedonia of a mass 
of armed Christian peasantry who were terrorised by 
their revolutionary leaders. The Porte determined 
to neutralise these possible auxiliaries in the event 
of a war with Bulgaria or Greece, and therefore 
prosecuted the disarmament more vigorously than 



THE NURSERY OF DISCONTENT 13 

would have been the case had its sole concern been 
the establishment of a greater measure of public 
security. 

The Greeks gave little trouble. There was some 
obstinate resistance at Naoussa — an aforetime Greek 
revolutionary centre where very harsh measures 
were resorted to by the authorities — but, in general, 
the Hellenes delivered up their arms and went back 
to their farms doubtless rejoicing in the prospect of 
a more peaceful existence. 

The disarmament of the Bulgarians, however, 
offered a much more serious problem. While the 
Greeks dreamt little of conquest, and very largely 
contented themselves with the measures necessary 
for the preservation of their own Hellenic colonies, 
the Bulgars were playing for bigger stakes. Bad 
Turkish government was to be made worse, Euro- 
pean intervention was to be provoked, Macedonian 
autonomy was to be established, and the autonomous 
state was subsequently to be effectually Bulgarised 
so that, upon the expected decomposition of the 
Ottoman Empire, the autonomy would be forthwith 
incorporated in the Bulgarian kingdom. Conse- 
quently their organisation, directed from Sofia, was 
more perfect and obstinate. Bands had again been 
organised in the interior, others had crossed the 
frontier from Bulgaria, and even the redoubtable 
ruffian, Sandansky — that specialist in Macedonian 
murder — had once more taken to the mountains with 
his companions. Moreover, the Bulgarian "komi- 
tadji" leaders had carried on a most prosperous 
business in forcing the peasantry to buy rifles at 
prices vastly in excess of the market value. Look- 



14 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

ing at the matter from a personal standpoint they 
saw not only a possible check to their ideas of 
territorial expansion, but the cessation of a profitable 
gun-running- enterprise. The unfortunate Bulgar 
peasants therefore found themselves between two 
fires. On the one hand, their own revolutionary 
leaders threatened them with summary massacre if 
they yielded their weapons, and, on the other hand, 
the Turkish authorities rewarded obstinate resistance 
to surrender with a particularly severe beating. 
Proofs are not lacking that the Turks went to severe 
lengths — some of their victims were undoubtedly 
beaten to death — but the harrowing stories of brutal 
cruelty that were issued from Bulgarian sources 
should not have been unreservedly accepted. The 
Turk is consistently held up as the personification 
of human devilry, but it is questionable whether the 
punishment meted out by Turkish gendarmes ever 
matched the savagery of the Bulgarian " voivodes." 
Within two hours of Salonika, a Bulgarian priest, 
who had counselled his flock to surrender their arms, 
was found brutally murdered. On his breast was 
pinned a letter which promised a similar fate to any 
others who might be tempted to comply with the 
demand of the authorities. Again, near Uskub, 
four Bulgars who were found guilty of recommend- 
ing voluntary disarmament to their friends and 
families were marched into a forest and well-nigh 
hacked to pieces. Had Turkish gendarmes com- 
mitted these and similar deeds the world would have 
rung with tales of their infamy. 

Where the Government showed Its hand and 
rendered the entire campaign unjustifiable was in 



THE NURSERY OF DISCONTENT 15 

its failure to methodically disarm the Moslems. It 
is impossible for one to speak for the whole of Mace- 
donia, but where I was able to investigate, I found 
that in some cases the Mohammedans had been 
disarmed and publicly beaten ; in others they had 
not only been left in possession of their guns, but 
the rifles taken from Christians had actually been 
served out to Moslem villages and to the Moslem 
immigrants from Bosnia and Hertzogovina. 

Although the authorities collected a considerable 
number of firearms — mostly obsolete — they suc- 
ceeded in convincing the Christian population that 
all hope of constitutional treatment must forthwith 
be abandoned. The Young Turks thereby forged a 
weapon for their own destruction, more potent than 
the hidden rifles of Christian Ottomans. 

The Growth of Anarchy. — In the meantime, 
further difficulties confronted those genuine re- 
formers who possessed any influence with the 
Committee. Chief among these was the necessity 
of maintaining in harness the administrative per- 
sonnel of the old regime. The Young Turks 
were driven to the hazardous experiment of 
putting new wine into old bottles. While they 
had found it possible to form a Ministry by avail- 
ing themselves of the services of some prominent 
deserters from the Hamidian ranks and, for the rest, 
by fitting a number of square pegs into round holes, 
they were compelled to maintain in office the pro- 
vincial governors of despotic days. For the old 
Turkish " Mutessarif " could not change his skin, 
nor the " Kaimakam " his spots. On the other 
hand, these men, actuated by a sense of self- 



16 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

preservation, joined the ranks of the Committee, and 
then helped to build up a secret bureaucracy which 
laid the foundation of many of the ills from which 
Turkey-in-Europe subsequently suffered. The 
Committee had displaced the Caliphat as the power 
in the land. Its provincial branches speedily 
became the real rulers of the country and its 
proteges enjoyed a complete immunity from the law. 

The Committee Bands. — When the Christians 
began to show signs that the Turkification of 
Macedonia was not to be accomplished without 
opposition, drastic measures were applied with the 
object of coercing the population into its accept- 
ance. It would perhaps be an exaggeration to say 
that the purpose of the Committee was to remove 
from the sphere of earthly politics all Christians 
who refused to bend the knee to the Mohammedan 
Baal. There were, nevertheless, grounds for 
suggesting that the Committee of Union and 
Progress was shepherding a movement which had 
for its purpose the extermination not only of the 
old Christian nationalist leaders, but of those also 
who seemed to have been marked out as possible 
chiefs of the opposition to Ottoman chauvinism. At 
one time there existed in the vilayet of Salonika 
alone no less than seven bands, all Turks, and all 
carrying on their murderous work with a tolerance 
on the part of the authorities which amounted to 
direct encouragement. 

The Tyranny of the Local Committees. — The 
Government, as a Government, completely lost 
control of Macedonia, with the consequence that 
constitutional rights became non-existent. Justice 



THE NURSERY OF DISCONTENT 17 

was unknown, the peasantry were killed off like flies, 
and oppression was practised on every hand. I 
credit the cabinet with an honest desire to put an 
end to this disorder, but the unfortunate truth is that 
they were but a hopelessly incompetent collection of 
ministers endeavouring to administer a country with 
a tribe of indifferent and fanatical governors who, 
for the most part, recognised no authority save that 
of the local Committee of Union and Progress. 

Truly, the last state of the Macedonian house was 
worse than the first. Hamid had been a tyrant, 
avaricious and cruel, but there was only one of him. 
In his place there were set up two hundred Hamids 
in the shape of the local Young Turk Committees 
who ruled the people with an absolutism, a cruelty 
and an injustice which would have been worthy of 
the great despot himself. The hated restraint of Hilmi 
Pacha's inspection, the supervision of the Euro- 
pean Commissioners, and the foreign gendarmery 
officers, were gone. The Turkish officials under- 
stood that the Constitution meant government by 
the Turks and for the Turks. With the fall of 
Hamid they preconceived the disappearance of 
authority, except in so far as they themselves chose 
to exercise it. They could never quite grasp the 
idea that a Christian is the equal of a Mussulman. 
Their history, life and mentality opposed the very 
idea of equality, with the result that when a Turk 
murdered a Christian, the chances were that the 
assassin went unpunished. If, in the first days of 
the Constitution, a hue and cry had been raised after 
every murderer, were he Moslem or Christian, the 
probabilities are that crime could have been kept 

B 



18 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

within normal limits ; but once it was shown that the 
Mussulman could shoot and steal with impunity, it 
is small wonder that assassination and robbery 
increased with alarming rapidity. 

One of the most disgraceful pages of the history 
of murder in Macedonia is that concerning Langazar 
— a district situated a matter of two hours from 
Salonika — where, during the month of October, 
191 1, alone, there were no less than twenty-seven 
assassinations by unknown murderers. Here Greek 
after Greek fell victim to knife or bullet, until a list 
had been built up sufficient to condemn any Govern- 
ment to capital punishment. At one time four Turkish 
bands were known to be roaming the region. The 
motive of this wholesale slaughter could not well 
have been other than political, for the corpses were, 
for the most part, found by the roadside, free from 
any evidence of attempted robbery. None of the 
murderers was discovered, and so notable became 
the scandal that, following a triple assassination, 
the Governor-General of Salonika — a subsequent 
Young Turk Minister of Justice — went down to 
make a personal investigation. As a result, he came 
to the astonishing conclusion that the assassination 
of the Greeks had been carried out by organised 
Greek bands with the object of discrediting the 
Turkish administration in the eyes of Europe! 
A Parliamentary Commission which subsequently 
visited Langazar found, however, that the outrages 
had been committed chiefly by Turkish bands ; that, 
though no arrests had been made, men upon whom 
the gravest suspicion rested were perambulating 
freely in the streets ; and that the authorities had been 




A BULGAR-MACEDONIAN SCHOOL AT POZAR. 




ALBANIAN VOLUNTEERS. 



THE NURSERY OF DISCONTENT 19 

guilty of negligence in failing to lay hands upon the 
murderers. And Langazar was but a notable 
example of the condition of the rest of Macedonia. 
Can it be wondered at then that discontent was rife, 
and that the weary, persecuted Christian peasant 
sighed for the days of Abdul Hamid ? 



CHAPTER III 

THE BEGINNING OF THE END 

The Spread of Anarchy. — 1911 was a bad year 
for the Young Turks. The war with Italy was 
draining the national exchequer and exciting the 
Balkan States ; anarchy had laid hold of Mace- 
donia; the general situation in the province had 
become untenable. There was an entire absence of 
security for life and property ; pillage and murder 
were rife, and the authorities proved incapable 
of controlling the lawlessness which sprang up 
on every hand. Within a stone's throw of 
Salonika the rural population was so terrorised 
that at sunset each family barricaded itself 
within its own house. Cattle were left untended, 
fields went uncultivated, and business visits to 
market were suspended until bodies of twenty to 
twenty-five peasants were ready to make the 
journey en masse. 

The Government's eleventh hour quack remedy 
for this appalling condition of the country was the 
dispatch of flying companies of gendarmes, who 
passed from village to village, exhorting the Mussul- 
man and Christian populations to live in peace and 
concord. But no attempt was made to grapple with 
the root of the evil, with the result that the Com- 

20 



THE BEGINNING OF THE END 21 

mittee of Union and Progress succeeded in accom- 
plishing the seemingly impossible. It united Greek 
and Bulgar, these aforetime irreconcilable enemies 
whose natural hatred the one for the other had been 
sedulously fanned by Hamid. Thus were sown the 
seeds of the Balkan League. True, the Young 
Turks did make an effort to use the Valach propa- 
ganda as a weapon with which to oppress the Greeks 
and thereby prevent a rapprochement between those 
closely allied races, but the attempt was crude both 
in its conception and application. Some Greeks 
were beaten to death, others were threatened with a 
similar fate, and the danger of putting a stick into 
the hands of a barbarian even if his character 
happens to be hidden underneath a gendarmery 
uniform, was clearly demonstrated. 

Bulgarian Activity. — The citation of events in 
strictly chronological order is impossible if the reader 
is to obtain a concise idea of the importance of each of 
the divers movements which had for their result the 
downfall of Young Turkism, and it must be borne 
in mind that throughout practically the whole of the 
period with which this chapter deals the Bulgarians 
were seeking, by means of their revolutionary 
organisation, to render life in Macedonia more 
intolerable than even the Turks had succeeded in 
making it, with the unique object of encouraging 
European intervention. It must be admitted that 
some demonstration had become necessary in order 
to awaken the Government to a sense of its re- 
sponsibility. Banditism and " Bombism " steadily 
increased during the year 19 ii until, in the month 
of November, the old Bulgarian Revolutionary 



22 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Committee issued a memorandum which was for- 
warded to the representatives of the Great Powers 
and which foreshadowed a recommencement of its 
activities. Despite the strengthening of the frontier 
guards, hostile bands crossed from Bulgaria in large 
numbers. Three bomb outrages on the railway 
and a mosque wrecked by a dynamite explosion, 
followed by a massacre, provided an effective com- 
mencement, and there was every evidence to show 
that the organisers were acting according to a well- 
arranged programme. Despite constant patrolling, 
the discovery of bombs on the railway line was of 
daily occurrence, and outrages were planned and 
executed with more or less success. 

It gives an instructive insight into the determina- 
tion which characterised this Bulgarian propaganda 
to observe that the avowed object of the outrages 
was to incite the Turks to a massacre of Christians 
and thus to provoke European intervention. The 
responsibility for the Istib and Kotchana massacres 
lay not with the Ottoman authorities but with the 
Bulgarian organisation which deliberately planned 
them, and the cruel sacrifice of Moslem and Christian 
life thus occasioned robbed the cause of much of the 
sympathy it would otherwise have enjoyed. Though 
the situation was chronically abnormal in Macedonia, 
much additional suffering was caused by the methods 
adopted by the Revolutionary Committee to enforce 
its programme upon the peasantry, and some of the 
most revolting crimes of the period were perpetrated 
by Bulgarian bands against their own kith and 
kin who refused to lend their support to the new 
propaganda. 



THE BEGINNING OF THE END 23 

Disaffection in the Army. — It had, nevertheless, 
become plainly evident that the policy of the Young 
Turks had most dismally failed. The attempts at 
Turkification had been disastrous, and it is question- 
able whether it would not at that time have been too 
late to inaugurate a scheme of federal government. 
In any case, however, the Committee of Union and 
Progress was disinclined to admit any such proposi- 
tion. They probably realised that every Christian 
race in Turkey was intellectually superior to them, 
and that, given an equal chance all round, the Turk 
would soon become little better than a hireling. For 
this reason they turned their attention with redoubled 
energy to the creation of a strong, all-powerful 
army, and practically admitted that all the fervent 
talk of " Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality '' nad 
been nothing more than a gigantic oratorial sand- 
bag hurled in the eyes of a gullible Europe. 

But, unfortunately for the Salonika clique, the 
army, upon which they ever counted for their exist- 
ence, was already divided against itself. True, the 
officers at Salonika remained loyal to the Committee. 
Following his quarrel with the Young Turks, the 
late Mahmoud Chefket Pacha had appointed two 
anti-Committee generals, Hassan Tahsin Pacha and 
Enver Pacha, as Commandants of the 5th Army 
Corps and the Salonika Division respectively ; but 
when, in order to preserve his position as the 
Minister of War, the future Grand Vizier was forced 
to come to heel, these two officers were replaced by 
junior generals known to be fervent partisans of the 
party then in power. 

Further afield, however, the rot had set in, and 



24 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

the defection from the ranks of the Committee 
became as noticeable in military as in civil circles. 
The most trustworthy evidence of the then existing 
frame of mind can be obtained from the tenor of a 
communication forwarded at the end of 191 1 to the 
Grand Vizier and the President of the Chamber by 
the corps of officers stationed as far apart as Yanina, 
Monastir and Scutari respectively. The fact that 
the document from these three isolated points was 
drawn up in more or less identical terms, suggests 
that the anti-Committee movement in the army 
had already been carefully organised. It read as 
follows : 

" For some time we have been carefully watch- 
ing your marche-a-faux-pas, and notice that, 
despite your oath, you fail to fulfil your promises. 
Of late the representatives of the nation have 
occupied themselves solely with their personal 
quarrels and are thereby conducting the Empire 
to decay and ruin. If you do not put a stop to 
this strife between ' interested ' persons, we warn 
you that at the end of the year, we, the under- 
signed officers of the army, will proceed to 
Constantinople and settle our account with you 
personally." 

Very little attention was paid to this warning. Per- 
haps it was that the executive of the Committee was 
too busy with the quarrels in its own camp. These 
were of a remarkable nature, and developed with 
extraordinary vigour, particularly at Monastir, where 
the party split up into two sections, each of which 
possessed its own organisation and ran it« own news- 



THE BEGINNING OF THE END 25 

paper. Even the visits of Enver Bey and other 
idohsed patriots failed to bring the rivals to reason. 
However, after several partisans had been murdered 
the difficulties were smoothed over, but not before 
the system as a whole had been sapped of much of 
its vitality. 

The Entente Liberale. — Prior to this develop- 
ment of dissention in the army and in the ranks of 
the Committee itself, thoughtful Turks had begun 
to think. It had become evident to many that if the 
Empire was to be saved from disruption some effort 
must be made to crush the Young Turk despotism. 
On all hands influential Mussulmans began to with- 
draw their support, and the masses were no longer 
at the beck and call of their former masters. Thus, 
largely owing to the initiative of Sadik Bey, a party 
designated the " Entente Liberale " was formed. 
The object of the new party was to gather together 
under one banner all the discontented elements in 
the Empire, and it produced a programme designed 
to satisfy Young Turks and Old Turks, Greeks and 
Bulgars, Kurds and Armenians, and, in fact, to recon- 
cile the irreconcilable. It had as many planks as 
there were parties, and promised everybody every- 
thing. As a programme for an Opposition it was 
perhaps ideal, but it could never have been put into 
execution by a Government. It served a useful and 
necessary purpose, however, in providing a standard 
around which discontented Turks, Greeks, Bulgars, 
Armenians and the rest could rally, and, like all party 
programmes, was capable of amendment. 

The " Entente Liberale " found the future Chris- 
tian section of its party ready made. The political 



2G THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

inexperience and successive mistakes of the Young 
Turks had, as we have already observed, thrown 
Greeks and Bulgars into one another's arms, and 
the Greek members of the Ottoman Chamber took 
in hand the elaboration of a programme establishing 
in a clear and precise manner the means of restoring 
peace in Turkey, and assuring the existence of the 
divers nationalities. This programme was immedi- 
ately accepted by all the Christian peoples of the 
Empire, and a permanent Committee was formed 
on which were represented the Greek "and Armenian 
Patriarchs, the Bulgarian Exarch, the Serbs, the 
Armenians and the Arab Christians. In May, 191 1, 
all these sections delivered notes, couched in 
identical terms, to the Sublime Porte demanding 
the acceptance of their common programme. This 
programme was, at a later date, adopted by the 
" Entente Liberale " party, to which the majority of 
the Mussulman population, disgusted by Young 
Turk methods and failures, had by this time adhered. 
The Second Elections. — Preparations were at 
once begun with the object of defeating the Com- 
mittee at the general elections which were now 
within sight. Provincial clubs were founded under 
the presidency of Turkish " intellectuals," and the 
support of the Moslem priesthood was very largely 
secured. The executive apportioned the number of 
seats which were to be allotted to each section of the 
party and thereby removed the possibility of future 
friction on that account. Since the division of seats 
as between Greeks and Bulgarians is a factor of con- 
siderable importance in the discussion of the differ- 
ences between allies which arose as a result of the 



THE BEGINNING OF THE END 27 

subsequent overwhelming defeat of the OsmanH, the 
agreement then arrived at is worthy of our attention. 
The document exchanged between the Greek and 
Bulgarian deputies of the first Ottoman Chamber 
and signed, on the one hand by the representatives 
of the Greek members and the Counsellors of the 
Patriarchate, and on the other by the representatives 
of the Bulgarian members and the Counsellors of the 
Bulgarian Exarchate, allotted five seats to the Bul- 
garians in Macedonia and only one in Thrace. The 
Greeks, by reason of their numerical superiority, 
received eight seats in Macedonia and seven in 
Thrace. We omit the three Greek seats in Con- 
stantinople and the four in Epirus as they bear no 
relation to future discussion between the two races. 
It would seem established, therefore, that in the year 
191 1 the Bulgars did credit the Hellenes with a 
considerable superiority in point of population both 
in Macedonia and in Thrace. 

On the eve of the elections for the second Ottoman 
Chamber the Young Turks were quite aware that 
their position was precarious and they accordingly 
made up their minds, by fair means or foul, to main- 
tain if not to increase their supremacy. There was 
early evidence of a determination on their part to use 
the power which possession of the administration 
placed in their hands to hinder, menace and intimi- 
date all opposition. The Turkish electoral system 
lending itself to easy manipulation, bunches of 
Christian villages were split up and severally 
attached to outlying districts where a Turkish 
majority was to be found. The Vallis, Mutessarifs, 
Caimakams and Commandants of gendarmery — all 



28 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

nominees of the Committee — were called upon to 
use their influence in favour of the party to which 
they owed their positions. The secrecy of the ballot 
went unrespected, and despite the official alliance of 
the Ulema with the " Entente Liberale," the Mussul- 
man vote was split to the advantage of the Com- 
mittee. At the polling booths the presence of large 
numbers of police and army officers served to strike 
an initial fear into the hearts of the voters^ ballot 
papers were numbered in order that the votes could 
afterwards be controlled, agents of the Committee 
tossed bundles of ready-filled voting papers into the 
boxes, and every description of pressure was applied 
to ensure the election of the Young Turk candidates. 
The result of these manoeuvres was the return of a 
Union and Progress Government to office by a huge 
majority, but the Christian population had at length 
understood the determination of the Moslems to keep 
the power in their own hands and had become con- 
vinced that the watchword of the young champions 
of Constitutionalism was " Turkey for the Turks." 



CHAPTER IV 

" VERS LA GUERRE '' 

The Last Albanian Rising. — Nowhere were the 
methods which the Young Turks had adopted to 
secure a majority in the new ParHament more 
resented than in Albania, and the elections were 
barely finished when the murmur of general dis- 
content rolled over the northern hills like the 
thunder of mighty cannon. Hadji Adil Bey, the new 
Minister of the Interior, was sent through the pro- 
vince on a tour of inspection, and the enthusiastic 
receptions (made to order) received by his commis- 
sion and the fervent telegrams of loyalty forwarded 
to the Grand Vizier, apparently blinded the Govern- 
ment to the real state of the country. Early in May, 
191 2, however, the embers of revolution began to 
glow; troops were rushed north, while the rebels 
threatened to loot the depots of arms which had been 
provided with the object of arming the Mussulmans 
in the event of war or a rising on the part of the 
Christian tribes. 

The revolution spread with startling rapidity, and 
the Government responded with promises of reform 
and the dispatch of an adequate punitive force. The 
Albanians sneered at the one and defied the other. 
After a cleverly worked political intrigue had led to 

29 



30 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

a refusal on the part of some of the troops to fire 
on their Moslem brothers, and orders to attack Issa 
Boletinatz had gone unexecuted, an e^ttente was 
established between the rebels and the army at 
Djacova, from whence threatening telegrams were 
forwarded to the Sultan in the name of the civil and 
military populations. 

Though these communications never reached the 
Caliph, they were not altogether ineffective, for 
the Government now consented to the dispatch of a 
parliamentary commission to investigate the alleged 
grievances, and an armistice was agreed to by the 
rebels. A few days later (July, 191 2), Said Pacha's 
Committee Government resigned office, and Kiamil 
Pacha and the Old Turks found themselves called 
upon again to take charge of the destinies of the 
Empire. 

The first act of the elder statesmen was to issue a 
proclamation by the Sultan to the Albanians, in which 
the shedding of blood between freres fideles was 
prohibited when questions involving the existence 
of the Empire were not at stake. The hillmen 
were accordingly beseeched not to provoke punitive 
action by the army, and were promised a Cabinet 
composed of practical, impartial statesmen who 
would be imperially charged to act justly towards the 
Albanian reclamations. Having drawn first blood, 
however, the rebels, whose leaders were now deter- 
mined to crush the Committee of Union and Progress, 
indicated their intention of continuing their agitation 
until the dissolution of the Young Turk Parliament 
had become effective. They decided, further, to 
convoke an Albanian National Assembly at Pristina, 



"VERS LA GUERRE" 81 

where 1200 Albanians seized the telegraph office 
and station (22nd July), and threatened to destroy 
the railway line if any attempts were made to send 
up military reinforcements. 

In the meantime, the new Ministry had issued a 
long manifesto to the Albanians, which opened with 
a flattering reference to the estimable qualities of that 
race, and indicated the peaceful tendencies of the 
Government by declaring that henceforth the use 
of armed force against the Albanians on any pre- 
text was categorically forbidden. They attempted a 
compromise on the dissolution of Parliament by an 
assurance that an inquiry would be made into the 
circumstances of the elections, and that any deputies 
who owed their election to the undue influence of 
the Committee would be unseated. The Albanians, 
however, while they telegraphed their thanks to the 
Sultan and assured iHis Majesty of their confidence 
in the new Cabinet, showed every disposition to drive 
home their initial victory. Although they faithfully 
observed the armistice, their control over Albania 
was complete, and with the exception of the Mutes- 
sariflik of Ipek, all Government positions were in 
their hands. Hassan Bey prohibited the dispatch 
of cipher telegrams over the wires, and forbade the 
Imperial troops to advance northward. 

At this time (26th July) the Catholic tribes of 
the North — the Mirdites and Mahssori — came into 
prominence. They rightly considered themselves 
excluded from the Sultan's proclamations, which 
had undiplomatically referred to freres fideles, and 
they accordingly broke the armistice, and severe 
fighting occurred in the districts of Mat and Selemie. 



32 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

This fact is worthy of note, for even at that date the 
Montenegrins were abnormally active, and the hostile 
action of the Catholic Albanians was undoubtedly due 
to their instigation. 

On 30th July, the Albanian Medjliss, assembled at 
Pristina, demanded the dissolution of the Chamber 
within forty-eight hours. Failing compliance, they 
threatened to march on Uskub. In the early days 
of August, the Cabinet capitulated on the main 
question, and the Albanians returned to their homes, 
while the chiefs remained at Pristina in order to 
draw up a scheme of reforms. 

The Albanian leaders quickly formulated their 
demands, ten of which were immediately accepted 
by the Cabinet of elder statesmen. These conces- 
sions were received with mixed satisfaction by the 
chiefs, and Uskub was, in consequence, invaded by 
thousands of rebels who, in their own fashion, 
proceeded to enjoy the fruits of victory. The 
Government was consequently compelled to make 
an imposing military demonstration, following which 
the rebel camp began to melt away. 

Yet the insurgents by no means accepted the 
promises of the Sultan in the spirit of childlike con- 
fidence in the Caliph that had been expected of them. 
They were in no mood to be fooled again, or even 
to await the natural evolution of Cabinet concessions. 
Desiring arms, these simple highlanders looted the 
military depots and stole a matter of sixty thousand 
rifles ; objecting to the continued incarceration of 
their friends, they forced prison doors and liberated 
them ; discontented with certain Government officials, 
they drove them from their posts ; demanding com- 



'•VERS LA GUERRE" 88 

pensation for damages suffered during the military 
operations, they fixed their own price and threatened 
to seize State funds unless they got it; wishing for 
luxuries they had no means to purchase, they looted 
towns ; clamouring for education, they burned down 
new Committee schools — and they further demon- 
strated their sense of playful humour by steahng 
flocks of sheep and selling them back to their rightful 
owners at seven-and-sixpence per head. It was only 
when Islam was called upon to face other and 
more critical developments on its frontiers that the 
Albanian revolution dissolved under the rays of a 
Moslem sun, superheated by the fires of religious 
fanaticism. 

Just as the milk and water policy of the new 
Government in Albania had led to an aggravation of 
the situation there, so in Macedonia matters had gone 
from bad to worse. It would be difficult to ade- 
quately describe the condition of absolute chaos 
which then prevailed, but it is safe to say that 
anything corresponding to effective administration 
had ceased to exist. Individual outrage and assas- 
sination were rampant, the while strong bands roamed 
the province north, south, east and west — menacing, 
killing and pillaging with apparent impunity. All 
this may have been and probably was the aftermath 
of the misguided pohcy of the Young Turks ; but it 
was clearly evident that the situation was out of 
hand and that the new Government felt itself, for 
one reason or another, incapable of exercising 
that authority which should have been its first 
attribute. 

The Bulgarian revolutionary propaganda had 

c 



U THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

recommenced with renewed vigour, and Macedonia 
had sunk into a deplorable state of lawlessness. 
Deliberate attempts to again provoke massacres of 
Christians by Mussulmans by means of dynamite 
outrages had been successful at Kotchana and 
unsuccessful at Doiran, while daily attacks on the 
railway line rendered travel unsafe, and created 
an untenable situation which called for immediate 
remedy of one kind or another. 

Simultaneously with this outbreak of internal 
anarchy, frontier incidents between Turkish and 
Bulgarian troops became appallingly frequent, and 
were often attended with considerable loss of life. 
Fighting on the Montenegrin borders likewise be- 
came a matter of daily history, and the excesses to 
which the Servian Ottomans were subjected by the 
Turkish irregulars and Albanians, infuriated public 
opinion in Servia, and led to reprisals. 

By the end of September, 191 2, the Macedonia 
barometer was pointing to very stormy weather, and 
the Turkish Government was fully convinced that 
there were breakers ahead. The Macedonian garri- 
sons were still further reinforced, and, on 20th Sep- 
tember, twenty wagons of war material for the account 
of the Servian Government, which had been tran- 
shipped at Salonika, were arrested at the frontier. 
Three days later a further eighty wagons suffered 
a similar fate, and Belgrade was formally notified 
that the material would be retained until the Porte 
received satisfactory assurances of the pacific in- 
tentions of the Servian Government. 

It had been evident for some little time that 
Bulgaria, Servia, and Montenegro were in bellirose 



"VERS LA GUERRE" 35 

mood. Now, however, came the news that Greece, 
whose hostile intentions had been hitherto unsus- 
pected, was actively preparing for war. The Turks, 
for their part, signalled their appreciation of the 
circumstances by mobilising the Drama, Serres, 
Istib and Uskub Reserve divisions, thus putting an 
additional 30,000 men under arms. 

But while the Committee of Union and Progress 
had been resorting to universal military service, 
disarmament, Bosnian immigration, boycott and 
general oppression, as a means of bringing about 
the Turkification of all Ottomans in the Empire, 
negotiations had been proceeding between Athens, 
Belgrade, Cettinge and Sofia, which were soon to 
sound the death-knell of the power of the Osmanli 
in Europe. 

The history of negotiations having for their 
object a combination of the liberated Balkan States 
against Turkey goes back to the close of the Russo- 
Turkish war of 1877.^ On that occasion, however, 
they were singularly short lived, for, following the 
Bulgarian revolt in Eastern RoumeHa of 1885, 
Greece and Servia demanded compensation, and the 
scheme was forthwith relegated to the archives. Six 
years later the idea was received by Tricoupis, one 

' For much of the information concerning- the discussions 
between the Balkan States, resulting in the formation of the 
Balkan League, the author wishes to acknowledge his indebted- 
ness to the Chief Correspondent of the Times in the Balkan 
Peninsula, whose able articles on the subject were read with world- 
wide interest upon their publication. It is unfortunate that Mr 
Bourchier's modesty has prevented him from throwing more light 
upon the highly important part which he himself played in the 
negotiations. 



86 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

of Greece's greatest statesmen, who took advantage 
of a temporary freedom from cares of office to 
expound his proposals in the Servian and Bulgarian 
capitals. His suggestions were welcomed in Bel- 
grade, and his reception in Sofia was so favourable 
that he was led to disclose his plans to Stambouloff. 
It is reported that, at the famous interview between 
the two statesmen, Stambouloff, who had betrayed 
the Greek scheme to the Porte, concealed the 
Turkish Ambassador behind curtains in the audience 
room in order that His Mohammedan Excellency 
might become thoroughly conversant with the Greek 
proposals. Whether this version of the episode be 
correct or not, the circumstances and its results 
certainly cast a shadow of suspicion on Bulgarian 
loyalty. The Bulgarian Church — churches are 
organs of political propaganda in the Balkans — 
had been re-established in 1870, and, as it was 
immediately pronounced schismatic by the Greek 
Patriarch, the struggle which for so many years 
effectually prevented any reconcihation between these 
two Christian races, and which was destined to stain 
the soil of Macedonia red with the blood of victims 
of religious hate, set in in earnest. The Turks re- 
warded Stambouloff for his treachery by the granting 
of several new Bulgarian bishoprics — or agencies for 
the propagation of Bulgarism — and it may there- 
fore be inferred that, if the accusations against 
Stambouloff are unfounded, he was singularly 
favoured in being able to obtain so great a concession 
without supplying any quid pro quo. 

With the exception of a further Greek attempt to 
obtain Bulgarian assistance during the disastrous 



*'VERS LA GUERRE" 37 

Greco-Turkish war of 1897, when Bulgaria again 
elected to favour Turkey and again received a grant 
of bishoprics as her reward, the untoward result which 
followed the initiative of Tricoupis stifled Balkan 
alliance proposals for twenty years, and as late as 
1909, when the writer, then en voyage in Macedonia, 
ventured to suggest the formation of a Christian 
block against the Crescent as the only means of 
obtaining decent conditions of existence, he was not 
only assured by the Greeks that they dared not risk 
further negotiations with Bulgaria, but was regarded 
with suspicion as a possible agent of the Bulgarian 
Government. 

With the advent to power of Mr Venezelos, 
came a Greek statesman unaffected by the story of 
past negotiations, and, contemporaneously with the 
entente between the Christian deputies in the 
Ottoman Parliament, the Greek and Armenian 
Patriarchs and the Bulgarian Exarch, he determined 
to invoke the pacific co-operation of the Bulgarian 
Government to second the efforts of the Christian 
block at Constantinople, and to further the attempt 
to reconcile the Christian elements in Macedonia. 
Mr Venezelos M^as not without hopes that an entente 
would speedily develop into an alliance, and in April, 
191 1, he unofhcially proposed a Greco-Bulgarian 
entente for common action in the defence of Christian 
privileges in Macedonia, and an eventual defensive 
alliance against an attack by Turkey on either of the 
contracting parties. 

No reply was forthcoming from Bulgaria, and for 
some months there were no further pourparlers 
between Athens and Sofia. In the meantime, how- 



88 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

ever, Mr Hartwig, the energetic Russian Minister 
at Belgrade, had been persistently working to bring 
about a Serbo-Bulgarian reconciliation. Russia's 
object was, of course, to create a hostile Slav com- 
bination as a foil to Austrian activity in the Balkans, 
and it was Austria whom Servia then, as now, 
regarded as her hereditary enemy. With the Porte 
King Peter had no quarrel. In fact, following the 
rupture of Austro- Servian commercial relations in 
1906, the Serbs became dependent upon Turkey 
for their economic existence, and they were in con- 
sequence desirous of cultivating the most friendly 
relations with the Moslem State. The only in- 
ducement for them to enter the projected Slav 
combination lay in the prospect of regaining the 
old Servian kingdom and the extension of their 
frontiers to the Adriatic. 

In the spring of 191 1, probably again as a result 
of Russian pressure, negotiations were resumed 
between Servian and Bulgarian diplomats, and upon 
the outbreak of the Turco-Italian war in September, 
191 1, the Servians came forward with definite pro- 
posals for an entente — proposals which resulted in 
the signature of an alliance between the two states 
on 13th March, 1912. The underlying idea in the 
Servian mind is clearly indicated by the fact that the 
military convention attached to the treaty called upon 
Bulgaria to send an army of 200,000 men to aid 
Servia in the event of Austrian intervention, whereas 
Servia bound herself to provide 100,000 to support 
Bulgaria against Turkey. Further, as Bulgaria 
favoured the creation of a Macedonian autonomy 
(which she hoped ultimate^ to annex) Servia insisted 



''VERS LA GUERRE'* 89 

upon its definite division into spheres of influence. 
The terms of the miHtary convention were 
repeatedly amended, and only those decided 
upon prior to mobilisation are of contemporary 
interest. 

Shortly before the actual signature of the treaty 
with Servia, and when we may assume that negotia- 
tions to that end were already far advanced, Mr 
Bourchier left Sofia for Athens, the bearer of a 
message from Mr Gueshoff to Mr Venezelos, 
inviting the Greek Premier to open official negotia- 
tions. Mr Venezelos lost no time in acceding to the 
request, and pourparlers were commenced through 
Mr Pannas, the able diplomat who then represented 
Greece at Sofia. By mid- April, 191 2, an agreement 
was reached, and on 29th May Mr Gueshoff and Mr 
Pannas signed the Greco-Bulgarian alliance. The 
two states bound themselves to aid each other if 
attacked either in its territory or by a systematic 
violation of its rights, and to use their influence with 
their kindred populations to contribute sincerely to 
the peaceful existence of the elements constituting 
the population of the Ottoman Empire. The treaty 
was to remain in force for three years, and the con- 
tracting parties agreed to avoid any description of 
aggression or provocative treatment with regard to 
Turkey, and to endeavour to induce their kindred 
populations in the Empire to dwell in peace with 
their Moslem fellow subjects. 

Montenegro had always been ready to enter any 
combination directed against Turkey, and though 
her formal entry into the League was not definite 
until the signature of a Serbo-Montenegrin alliance 



4^ THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

in September, 191 2, her adhesion to the project had 
been practically assured from February of the same 
year. 

Thus was completed the chain of aUiances which 
constituted the Balkan League, and with Turkey 
weakened by the revolts in Albania and in the 
Yemen, and handcuffed by the war with Italy, which 
not only sapped her vitahty but prevented the trans- 
port of troops from Asia Minor to the European 
provinces, the Balkan statesmen determined to defy 
Europe and strike for freedom. 

During the second half of September, 191 2, there 
existed an unofficial state of war on the Bulgarian and 
Montenegrin frontiers, and numerous engagements 
occurred in which the losses were of a serious nature. 
In Macedonia the Bulgars, through the medium of 
bombs and bands, were spreading terror far and wide. 
Servia was quiet, but known to be in league with 
Bulgaria. From Greece, however, there came only 
reports of military movements and partial mobilisa- 
tion, which were not inconsistent with the unsettled 
political conditions prevailing generally in the penin- 
sula. It was, therefore, not unnatural that the 
comparatively pacific attitude of the Greek Govern- 
ment should have misled Turkish statesmen, and 
that the Porte, now convinced of the hostile intentions 
of her northern neighbours, should have attempted 
to buy out the Hellenes. According to a statement 
made to me about this time by a Turkish diplomat, 
Turkey would have been willing to cede the Island 
of Crete, and to agree to a revision of the frontier 
in the Mecovo districts as the price of Greece's 
neutrality. Certain it is that the Porte addressed a 



''VERS LA GUERRE'^ 41 

telegram to Athens inviting the Greek Government 
to open negotiations at Constantinople. 

The advice of the mobilisation was received by 
the Consuls-General of the Balkan States at Salonika 
on I St October, 191 3. In European circles there 
was a pardonable disposition to consider that at the 
last moment the Powers would step in to avoid war, 
but the Servian representative was under no such 
delusion. That same day saw Mr Baloukditch busily 
packing his effects, confident that his recall was but 
a matter of hours. The dark cloud upon the horizon 
was the expectation that the Turkish Government 
would not dare to retreat before a bellicose demon- 
stration on the part of its neighbours. As to the 
Turks themselves, they accepted the news with com- 
mendable sang-froid and declared themselves ready 
to respond to the call to arms, quietly confident 
in their ability to defend their country against all 
invaders. The mobihsation of the Turkish army 
naturally followed close upon that of its rivals, and 
large supplies of ammunition and stores were hurried 
into Macedonia from Constantinople. 

While fruitless negotiations were in progress 
between Turkey and the Balkan States, the tide of 
Moslem patriotism rose rapidly. The Albanians 
forgot their grievances and asked only that weapons 
should be served out to them to repel the invading 
hosts. The hillmen were, in effect, so confident of 
their strength that they assured the Government of 
their ability to defeat the combined Montenegrin and 
Servian armies without the aid of Imperial troops. 
It would at this date have been impossible for the 



42 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Porte to have avoided war, and the scenes of enthusi- 
asm which accompanied the reading of the Sultan's 
Firman exhorting his subjects to rally to the defence 
of their country faithfully reflected the martial spirit 
which permeated the entire Moslem population. 

When, therefore, during the first week in October, 
the news arrived that the Montenegrins had crossed 
the frontier and destroyed the Ottoman block- 
houses, the Government accepted the challenge and 
ordered their commandants to defend their charges 
to the best of their ability. 

Meantime, the Turkish mobilisation had proceeded 
according to a programme drawn up by the German 
officers during the preceding winter, and it is worthy 
of note that so thorough was this organisation that 
until the completion of the movement not a single 
train reached its projected destination more than five 
minutes late. Immediately, however, the Turkish 
General Staff was left to its own resources, the whole 
scheme went to pieces. 



CHAPTER V 

THE GREAT BALKAN WAR 

Which is Explanatory. — For over thirty years 
diplomacy had cherished the shibboleth that the final 
liquidation of the Turkish Empire in Europe would 
be necessarily accompanied by a European war. It is, 
therefore, indeed curious that the Powers did so little 
during that period to avert the crisis they so greatly 
feared. True, they time and again bolstered up 
Abdul Hamid; they shut their eyes to his blood- 
stained system of misgovernment ; they condoned his 
organised massacres of defenceless Christians ; they 
plotted and intrigued for supremacy at the Sublime 
Porte. But beyond a few half-hearted attempts at 
reform, which national rivalry never permitted to 
outgrow the purely academic stage, they had failed 
to carry into execution the powers accorded them in 
1878 to give to Macedonia a just and equitable 
administrative system. They had been content to 
scrape on the fiddles of international jealousy while 
Macedonian Rome was burning. Ever and anon, 
when catastrophe loomed large, the tattered and torn 
Treaty of Berlin was trotted out and an ineffectual 
attempt made to dam the rushing waters of Ottoman 
dismemberment ; but for all the benefit it conferred 
upon the down-trodden Christian populations, the 
famous Article 23 might never have been drafted. 

48 



U THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

And so when, in September, 191 2, it became 
evident that the patience of the suffering Mace- 
donians was again exhausted and pitcher No. 23 was 
once more sent to the well for a new draft of the 
soothing waters of promise and procrastination, it 
broke. For thirty-four years the Powers had shirked 
their responsibility until the Balkan States them- 
selves, subordinating their interracial quarrels to the 
menace of a common enemy, determined to make 
good the delinquencies of their self-elected protectors. 

The Powers were at length awakened from their 
coma and, choosing Austria-Hungary and Russia 
as their mouthpieces, they delivered on 25th 
September, 191 2, the following threatening epistle 
to the now allied Balkan States: 

" The Governments of Austria-Hungary and 
Russia declare to the Government: 

"i. That the Powers energetically disapprove 
of all measures calculated to bring about a breach 
of the peace. 

" 2. That, by virtue of Article 23 of the 
Treaty of Berlin, they will undertake, in the 
interest of the populations, the realisation of 
reforms in the administration of Turkey-in- 
Europe, it being understood that these reforms 
will not in any way diminish the sovereignty 
of His Imperial Majesty the Sultan, or imperil 
the integrity of the Ottoman Empire ; this declara- 
tion, however, reserves to the Powers the liberty 
to proceed to the collective and subsequent study 
of the reforms. 

" 3. That if war nevertheless breaks out between 



THE GREAT BALKAN WAR 45 

the Balkan States and the Ottoman Empire, they 
will not admit, at the close of the conflict, any 
modification of the territorial status quo in Turkey- 
in-Europe. 

" The Powers will collectively take the steps 
rendered necessary by the preceding declaration 
at the Sublime Porte. 

"Aide Memoire. — The Powers having decided 
by their united efforts to obtain reforms in the 
spirit of Article 23 of the Treaty of Berlin, and 
taking into consideration the fact that the Porte 
has the intention of agreeing to the unanimous 
desire of the Powers, the Russian Government 
considers that, at this moment, any action of the 
Balkan States tending to aggravate the situation 
and to jeopardise the maintenance of peace, would 
be in the highest degree imprudent. It is beyond 
doubt that the Balkan States will, at the cost of 
heavy sacrifices, be unable to obtain, in favour of 
the Christian populations, greater concessions than 
those which the Powers expect to obtain from the 
Porte. 

" The Imperial Russian Government in conse- 
quence hopes that the Government will 

permit the Powers to complete the work they 
have commenced under the most favourable 
auspices." 

To this imposing document the allies, convinced 
that the psychological moment had arrived for 
decisive action, severally replied on 13th October: 

" The Government, having taken note of 

the declaration of the six Great Powers presented 



; THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

to it by the Governments of Austria- Hung^ary 

and Russia, and having communicated with the 
Governments of the other Balkan States, expresses 
its gratitude for the interest shown by the six Great 
Powers in favour of the populations of Turkey-in- 
Europe, and for their promises to undertake the 
reaHsation of reforms in the administration in virtue 
of Article 23 of the Treaty of Berlin. The 
Governments of the Balkan States, however, con- 
sider that, after so many promises of reforms have 
been so often and so solemnly given by Turkey, 
it would be cruel not to endeavour to obtain, in 
favour of the Christian populations of the Ottoman 
Empire, reforms of a more radical and definite 
nature, which would really ameliorate their miser- 
able condition if applied sincerely and in their 
integrity. It is for this reason that they have 
thought it their duty to address themselves directly 
to the Government of His Majesty, the Sultan, in 
indicating to him the principles upon which the 
reforms which are to be introduced shall be based, 
and the guarantees which it will be necessary to 
give to ensure their sincere application. They are 
further convinced that if the Imperial Government 
desires to accept these proposals, order and tran- 
quillity will be re-established in the provinces of 
the Empire, and that a durable peace will be 
assured between Turkey and the Balkan States, 
who have hitherto too often suffered from the 
arbitrary and provocative attitude adopted by the 
Sublime Porte towards them." 

Simultaneously with this dignified response to the 



THE GREAT BALKAN WAR 47 

Great Powers, the Ottoman Ministers in Athens, 
Belgrade, and Sofia were handed the following 
ultimatum : 

" The undersigned Minister of Foreign Affairs 
has the honour to request His Excellency, the 
Ottoman Minister, to communicate to the Imperial 
Ottoman Government the following communica- 
tion and the note thereto annexed : 

" ' Despite the note delivered by the Govern- 
ments of Austria-Hungary and Russia on behalf of 
the six Great Powers to the Balkan States — a note 
by which they promise to undertake the realisation 
of reforms in the administration of Turkey-in- 
Europe — the Governments of Bulgaria, Greece, 
and Servia nevertheless consider it necessary 
to address themselves directly to the Imperial 
Government of His Majesty the Sultan, in order 
to declare that only reforms of a radical nature, 
applied sincerely and in their integrity, can reallv 
ameliorate the miserable condition of the Christian 
populations of the vilayets of the Empire, guar- 
antee order and tranquillity in Turkey-in-Europe, 
and assure a solid peace between the Ottoman 
Empire and the Balkan States, towards whom the 
SubHme Porte has, without justification, too often 
adopted an arbitrary and provocative attitude. The 
Governments of Bulgaria, Greece, and Servia, 
while regretting that the Government of Monte- 
negro is unable, owing to recent events, to join 
in this demand, invite the Porte to immediately 
proceed, in collaboration with the Great Powers 
and the Balkan States, to elaborate and apply to 



B THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Turkey-in-Europe the reforms provided for by 
Article 23 of the Treaty of BerHn, founding same 
on the principles of ethnical autonomy (adminis- 
trative autonomy; Belgian or Swiss governors- 
general ; elected provincial assemblies ; gendar- 
mery ; free instruction ; militia) ; and in confiding 
the application thereof to a Conseil Superieur, 
composed of Christians and Mussulmans in equal 
number, under the surveillance of the ambassadors 
of the Great Powers and the Ministers of the four 
Balkan States. They hope that Turkey will be 
able to declare that she accepts this demand, that 
she will undertake to put the reforms contained in 
the present note and its annex into execution 
within a period of six months, and that she will, 
as proof of her consent, withdraw the decree of 
mobilisation of her army. Annex : 

" ' I . Confirmation of the ethnical autonomy of 
the nationalities of the Empire with all its 
consequences. 

"'2, Proportional representation in the Otto- 
man Parliament for each nationality. 

" ' 3. Admission of Christians to all public posts 
in the provinces inhabited by the Christians. 

" ' 4. Recognition of the equahty of Christian 
schools of all grades with Mussulman schools. 

"'5. Engagement by the Sublime Porte to 
under no consideration endeavour to modify the 
ethnological character of the provinces of the 
C)ttoman Empire, or to thereto transplant Mussul- 
man populations. 

" ' 6. Regional recruiting of Christians for miH- 
tarv service with Christian cadres, 



THE GREAT BALKAN WAR 49 

" ' 7. Reorganisation of the gendarmery in 
Turkey-in-Europe, vilayet by vilayet, under the 
effective command of Swiss or Belgian organisers. 

" ' 8. Nomination in the vilayets inhabited by 
Christians, of Swiss or Belgian Valis (governors) 
agreeable to the Powers and assisted by councils- 
general elected by the electoral districts. 

" ' 9. Institution at the Grand Vizirat of a 
Superior Council composed of Christians and 
Mussulmans in equal number, to supervise the 
application of these reforms. The ambassadors 
of the Great Powers and the Ministers of the four 
Balkan States at Constantinople to supervise the 
work of this council.' " 

A refusal on the part of the Turks was, of course, 
awaited with confidence. In any other case, the 
ultimatum would doubtless have included still more 
stringent and less acceptable conditions. Bulgaria, 
though she had been compelled to forego her demand 
for Macedonian autonomy as a result of the opposi- 
tion of Servia, Greece, and Montenegro, to neither 
of whom the proposition appealed, doubtless hoped 
to carry her point as the result of a more or less 
successful conflict. 

Servia was possessed of a determination born of 
two vital considerations. She was bent on establish- 
ing her political supremacy in old Servia, and on 
cutting her way through to the Adriatic. The 
fulfilment of these dreams had been threatened by 
the carte blanche given to the Albanians. When 
the hillmen overran Uskub (the ancient capital of the 
Servian Empire) the Porte was warned that Servia 



50 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

could not remain a disinterested spectator, and a 
decision was immediately come to at Belgrade that 
the moment for action had arrived. 

Montenegro was, as usual, in quest of fertile plains. 
Greece hoped at least to obtain possession of Crete, 
and secure better treatment for the Hellenes in 
Macedonia, whatever might be the result of the 
struggle. The idea of doubling their territory at 
the expense of Turkey in Europe had occurred to 
none of the allies. 

Abdul Hamid, had he ever permitted the Balkan 
States to draw together, which is extemely unlikely, 
would doubtless now have accepted their programme 
of reforms, confident in his ability to create future 
disaccord between them, and to once again exploit 
their natural antipathy for one another to the benefit 
of the Mussulmans. Such a development would 
have been a calamity for the allies, but the existing 
hatred between Old and Young Turks fortunately 
protected them against any such interference with 
their carefully laid plans. 

The Turks, as it subsequently transpired, werc^ 
not altogether correctly informed as to the strength 
or intentions of their enemies. They credited the 
Greeks with the ability to put an army of about 
80,000 men in the field, the greater part of which 
force it was estimated would concentrate at Larissa, 
and march north via Elassona ; it was expected that 
a smaller force would attack the frontier at Mechovo, 
and endeavour to reach Yanina. The Epirote 
fortress was considered safe in the hands of the local 
garrison, aided by Albanian volunteers, while in view 
of the fact that all the points of strategic importance 



THE GREAT BALKAN WAR 51 

on the frontier were in Ottoman hands, Hassan 
Tahsin Pacha, with a force which originally num- 
bered but 30,000 men (it was subsequently heavily 
reinforced) was presumed to be sufficiently strong 
not to actually defeat the Hellenes, but to retard their 
advance. His mission was to oppose the Greeks, 
and, if defeated, to retire, fighting the while a series of 
rear-guard actions, thus delaying his opponents until 
the Serbs and Bulgars had been defeated in Mace- 
donia, when sufficient reinforcements were to be 
drafted south to enable him to crush his enemy and 
march on Athens. 

The Montenegrins were likewise held cheaply, the 
Ottoman General Staff considering that the Scutari 
and frontier garrisons, aided by Essad Pacha's 
Tirana Redif division, then en route northward, and 
the Albanian volunteers, would be able to encompass 
their defeat without difficulty. 

It was towards the north and north-east that the 
Turks turned their eyes. Anticipating a Bulgarian 
invasion down the valley of the Struma River, 
through the Kresna Pass, they concentrated a divi- 
sion of about 25,000 men under i\.li Nadir Pacha, 
south of Kresna. The Servian army was expected 
to divide into two parts : a comparatively weak right 
wing descending south towards Prichtina, which the 
Albanians were to hold in check; a main column 
following the railway or the Morava Valley towards 
Uskub. The Turkish plan further calculated that a 
strong Bulgarian army would march down the road 
from Kuestendil, and attempt to effect a junction 
with the Servian forces to the north of the Plain of 
Ovtchepole. They therefore concentrated in the 



52 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

northern valley of the Vardar River, the flower of the 
Turkish army in Macedonia, which had been heavily 
reinforced by the addition of picked divisions 
from Asia Minor. This force, which counted over 
100,000 bayonets, was placed the supreme command 
of that experienced general and excellent gentleman, 
Zeki Pacha, and included the 6th (Monastir) Army 
Corps under Djavid Pacha, the 7th (Uskub) Army 
Corps under Fethi Pacha, a mobile corps of two 
divisions of the 5th (Salonika) Army Corps under 
Kara Said Pacha, together with Sulieman Faik 
Pacha's independent cavalry division, and some 
25,000 to 30,000 Albanian volunteers. 

This concentration is important in view of the 
generally accepted theory that the first Balkan War 
was won and lost exclusively upon the Plains of 
Thrace. According to information supplied at the 
time, however, the Turks were by no means assured 
of their ability to more than hold their own in 
Thrace. On the other hand, their plan (and I write 
now after reference to notes made after an interview 
with an officer of the Turkish Staff on 17th October, 
191 2), was that Zeki Pacha should attempt to get 
between the Servian army advancing down the 
Morava Valley, and the presumed Bulgarian force 
marching south-west from Kuestendil, and forthwith 
crush the Serbs, turn against and defeat the Bulgars, 
and fight his way to Sofia with all possible speed. 
Ali Nadir Pacha, in the Struma Valley, was not to 
attempt to march up the Kresna Pass, but, if success- 
ful in defeating or turning the Bulgarians — who 
would presumably be opposed to him — was to follow 
the route from Pechevo to the Bulgarian frontier. 



THE GREAT BALKAN WAR 58 

and effect a junction with Zeki Pacha on the Sofia 
road. The effect of this strategy, had it been 
successfully carried out, would have been to threaten 
Sofia and recall the Thracian army to the defence 
of the capital, or, if the Bulgarians had decided to 
sacrifice Sofia, they would have found their troops 
in Thrace between two fires, and their speedy anni- 
hilation imminent. Had the Turks known that the 
force on the Kuestendil road was in reality part of 
the Servian army, and included but one Bulgarian 
division, their plan would thereby have appeared to 
them all the more feasible. 

The issue hung upon Zeki Pacha's ability to put 
this strategy into execution, and had he, as he hoped, 
defeated the Serbs at Koumanovo, the whole course 
of events in Thrace would probably have been 
altered. Koumanovo was, therefore, the decisive 
battle of the campaign, and it was the great Servian 
victory of that name which, more than any other 
engagement (and, of course, the successes of the 
allies were interdependent the one on the other), 
rendered the Balkan States masters of Macedonia. 

It will have already become obvious that the 
Turkish General Staff at Salonika — presided over 
by Ali Riza Pacha, generalissimo of the western 
armies — had made several miscalculations concern- 
ing the forces opposed to them. It has been noted 
that the Turks had mistaken the second Servian army 
(in which was included one Bulgarian division) which 
was marching south from Kuestendil, for an exclu- 
sively Bulgarian force, and they remained under this 
misconception until after the battle of Koumanovo. 
iThey further estimated the Greeks at 80,000, 



54 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

whereas the Hellenes actually mobilised an army 
of 120,000 men. This numerical superiority of the 
Greeks was early recognised, with the result that 
Hassan Tahsin Pacha was systematically reinforced 
by new arrivals from Asia Minor. 

While the Turkish soldiers were full of enthusiasm 
and their officers as replete with confidence, it was 
obvious from the very commencement of the concen- 
tration that the movements of the Ottoman troops 
were to be seriously handicapped by an inefficient 
army service, and an inadequate commissariat. To 
those of us who professed some anxiety as to how 
the armies were to be fed, and who pointed out that 
in the face of a poor harvest the 400 wagons 
of Servian grain which had been seized by the 
authorities would only very partially solve the diffi- 
culty, the reply was given that the troops would live 
on the country. There was, likewise, a shortage of 
winter clothing, and thousands of the men left for 
the front in the pelting rain with no more cover than 
that provided by their light summer uniforms. To 
the absence of footwear no one gave serious consider- 
ation, for it was always understood that on the 
outbreak of war the Turkish soldier would fling away 
his boots and take to the hide coverings known as 
charouks, to which he is accustomed. 

The Ottoman army, as a staff officer pointed out 
to me with pride, was provided with all the latest 
scientific apparatus of modern warfare. They had 
aeroplanes, field telegraphs and telephones, wireless, 
steel pontoons, and the very best that Krupp could 
provide in the way of artillery. These accessories 
were, in themselves, excellent, subject to the Turks 



THE GREAT BALKAN WAR 55 

knowing how to employ them ; but, as events were 
so quickly to demonstrate, the Moslem, while he 
would probably prove as good a soldier as ever under 
the conditions which in past centuries covered him 
with martial glory, has been utterly unable to 
assimilate the teachings of modern science as applied 
to the art of human slaughter, or to understand the 
impossibility of revitualising a modern army by the 
primitive process of stealing corn by the wayside. 
Whether the field telephones were ever used I know 
not, but the Turkish attempts, as I saw them, at 
range-finding and fuse-timing were lamentable ; the 
wireless broke down within a few hours and was 
never repaired, while the aeroplanes only flew (driven 
by French mechanics engaged at princely salaries) 
when the Greeks were already at the gates of 
Salonika. As to the commissariat, not the least 
among the causes of the Turkish debacle was the 
attempt to make men face shrapnel and cold steel 
on empty stomachs. 

We have, in this account of the Avar in Mace- 
donia, to deal almost exclusively with the actions 
of the Servian and Greek armies. Upon them fell 
the burden of the fighting. Montenegrin activities 
were mainly concentrated upon an attempt to capture 
the fortress of Scutari, while the Bulgarians, in three 
coluiruis, hastened towards Salonika, encountering, 
thanks to the Greek and Servian victories, but little 
greater resistance than might be offered to the pass- 
age of an army by a few active bands of " komitadji." 
Their expedition was clothed rather with a political 
than a military atmosphere, and they wasted on that 
hurried rush to Salonika, to which we shall find it 



B6 THE BALKAN COCKPlf 

necessary to refer in a subsequent chapter, troops 
which might well have enabled them to drive home 
their victories in Thrace had they been turned east- 
ward instead of southward after the collapse of the 
Ottoman resistance. 

The Servian Concentration. — The Servian 
mobilisation, decreed on 30th September, com- 
menced on 3rd October ; six days later all the troops 
were mobilised and began their concentration. A 
further delay of only four days found the field trans- 
port ready to move. Four separate armies and an 
independent brigade was formed, and were dis- 
posed as follow: 

The First Army (125,000 men). — Under the 
command of the Crown Prince Alexander, com- 
posed of five divisions and an independent cavalry 
division, entered Turkish territory from Vrania 
and proceeded along the Morava Valley. 

The Second Army. — Under the command of 
General Stephanovitch, composed of one Servian 
and one Bulgarian division, descended by the 
road from Kuestendil. 

The Third Army. — Four divisions under the 
command of General Yankovitch crossed the 
frontier at Prepovast. 

The Fourth Army. — Composed of mixed 
troops, was divided into two independent columns. 

Briefly put, the Servian forces totalled 258,000, plus 
fifteen regiments of the 3rd Ban (territorials, or 
home guards), equal to an additional 75,000 men. 
The plan of campaign called upon the first and 
second armies to march south towards Uskub and 




Jan\ha 



The Theatre of Opeh 




/ONS IN Macedonia. 



THE GREAT BALKAN WAR 5^ 

eventually join the third army, whose mission was 
to descend to the same destination via Prichtina 
and the Katchanic Pass. The fourth army was 
detailed off to clear the Turks out of the Sanjack 
and proceed thence to the assistance of Montenegro 
The Greek Concentration.— The Greek mobili- 
sation, decreed on 30th September, was completed 
in twelve days. The army consisted of ei^ht 
divisions, seven of which were concentrated in 
I hessally under the command of the Crown Prince, 
and the remaining division in Epirus. Althouo-h 
the estimate of the General Staff placed their prov- 
able force at 85,000 to 90,000 men, so potent was 
the wave of patriotism which engulfed Hellas that 
as we have already stated, the twelfth day of mobili- 
sation saw their numbers swollen to 120,000 men 
This figure included a Greek-American contingent 
ot 30,000 who arrived already equipped at the 
expense of their co-religionists in the States. 

The Greek plan of campaign requires but litde 
explanation. The object of the Duke of Sparta's 
command was to engage and defeat Hassan Tahsin 
Pacha and then march northward. The duty of the 
division m Epirus was to attack, and, if possible, 
defeat the Turks on the western side and proceed 
to the siege of Yanina. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE BATTLE OF SARANDAPORON 

It had been decided that war against Turkey 
should be declared on i8th October. On 17th 
October there were two interesting developments. 
Ali Riza Pacha issued orders to his commandants 
to attack the Servian and Bulgarian lines, and the 
Duke of Sparta moved six Greek divisions up to 
the foot of the mountain frontier which separates 
Greece from Turkey. One division (VII) was left 
as reserve at Tirana. Hassan Tahsin Pacha 
received no orders to attack the Hellenic army. 
Isolated at Dishkata, he probably ignored the fact 
that a term had at length been set to Turkish 
evasion and procrastination, and was leisurely 
engaged in collecting the scattered forces which 
were to rally to his aid. The Porte, even at this 
date, still hoped to buy Greece out of the League, 
and, while leaving the door open for diplomatic 
negotiation at Constantinople, was indisposed to 
precipitate events on the southern frontier. This 
error of judgment, while it could scarcely have 
effected the ultimate result, placed the Turkish 
forces in Southern Macedonia at a further dis- 
advantage, and Hassan Tahsin, apprised of the 
arrival of the Greek army on the frontier, was 

58 ' 



THE BATTLE OF SARANDAPORON 59 

obliged to give up the idea of profiting by the 
strategic advantages he there possessed, and forced 
to retire sufficiently far to the north as to permit 
of his joining forces with the reinforcements then 
en route, and to fortify himself in as favourable a 
position as possible. By his unexpected advance 
on i/th October, however, the Duke of Sparta had 
got ahead of his enemy, and by dint of his rapid 
and continuous forward movement, he never really 
permitted the Turks to pull themselves together. 
Reinforcements, as they arrived, joined hands with 
men already beaten and discouraged, and the morale 
of officers and men aHke had suffered a blow from 
which it never actually recovered. 

When, therefore, at 6 a.m. on i8th October the 
Greek army in four columns crossed the frontier, 
the Turks garrisoned in the block-houses fired a 
few volleys and promptly retired to the hills over- 
looking the Plain of Elassona. Here the Greeks 
were successfully delayed for several hours. Two 
Hellenic divisions were ordered to execute a frontal 
attack, and a skirmish of some importance continued 
until the Ottomans, observing two regiments of 
Evzones (Light Infantry) in the act of flanking their 
left, bolted in a northerly direction. 

The Turkish commander, realising that he had 
lost the first round, wisely decided to retire right 
back on Sarandaporon, where he could reasonably 
expect to be allowed sufficient time to entrench 
himself, and where, moreover, he was sure to 
encounter the reinforcements then marching to his 
aid from Salonika. Sarandaporon constitutes a 
formidable natural stronghold and is, practically 



60 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

speaking, the southern gate of Macedonia. It is 
considered by mihtary experts to be well-nigh 
impregnable. Here the main road from Elassona 
to the town of Servia crosses an extensive plain 
until it reaches the mouth of the pass, from whence 
a mountain wall runs off on either side in a south- 
easterly and south-westerly direction. Entering 
the pass, the road winds through a long narrow 
gorge, flanked east and west by precipitous and 
inaccessible mountains, and resembling in some of 
its aspects the famous Pass of Kresna, to which we 
shall have occasion to refer more than once in this 
narrative. In the light of previous experience of 
Balkan warfare, a comparatively small force in 
possession of the heights at the entrance should 
have been able to successfully defy the onslaughts 
of a vastly superior army from the plain beneath. 
It was, therefore, but natural that Hassan Tahsin 
Pacha should hasten to entrench himself in this 
formidable stronghold and determine to there stay 
the advance of his enemy. 

On 22nd October, 191 2, the Greeks arrived on 
the plain to find the Turkish army in strong position 
on the heights commanding the entrance to the pass 
(see position marked A and B on sketch map). 
The Crown Prince then developed his attack, 
and the Turks found themselves faced by three 
Greek divisions, a fourth being held in reserve 
behind their centre, while two battalions of Evzones 
moved round on their extreme right. The difh- 
cuhies of the Greeks were, however, increased in 
a marked degree by the impossibility of sending 
forward the artillery with the divisions to which it 




THE GREEK ARMY — AN OUTPOST ACTION. 




THE GREEK ARMY — IN THE TRENCHES. 



THE BATTLE OF SARANDAPORON 61 

respectively belonged, for the long stretch of plain 
leading up to the Turkish positions was, as Hassan 
Tahsin well knew, broken by deep gorges and 
ravines which rendered the transport of field 
batteries impracticable. The Hellenes were, there- 
fore, compelled to mass their guns and send them 
along the main road in the wake of their centre. 
The infantry, particularly of the Greek right, was 
accordingly unsupported by its artillery and was 
exposed unprotected to the fire of the Turkish 
batteries for over three hours. This circumstance 
necessitated a premature development of the unities 
composing the Greek right, which were compelled 
to adopt battle formation in order to pass over the 
ridges of the undulating and ever-rising hills which 
led up to the Ottoman lines. 

At midday, the first of the Greek batteries 
unmasked, and being steadily reinforced and 
advanced, their fire became very effective, the 
Turkish guns being eventually enveloped in a 
haze of bursting shrapnel. The Turks, natur- 
ally conscious of the superiority of their position, 
stood their ground bravely and poured down a 
continuous hail of lead and shrapnel upon their 
advancing enemy. Then the Greeks were seen 
to waver. For the great mass of Hellenes it was 
their first experience under fire, and it is small 
wonder that the men, deafened by the roar of the 
batteries behind them, should have gazed at the 
hostile guns above as they belched forth death and 
destruction, and have felt a distinct disinclination 
to advance farther into the inferno. The Turks 
gained confidence, and the issue was still in doubt 



62 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

when the General commanding the Greek III 
Division, accompanied by his staff, rode into the 
foremost Hnes, and shouting, " Einbros, paithia, 
Embrosf' (On, boys, on!) put renewed courage 
into the hearts of his men, and led them to victory. 
The cry of " Embros " was universally taken up and 
was clearly heard in the Turkish camp. The fight 
continued with increasing vigour, but towards 4 p.m. 
the fire of the Krupp batteries began to weaken, 
only, an hour and a half later, when daylight was 
yet on the wane, to recommence with renewed 
energy. The effect was to inspire the Greeks with 
doubt and indecision. As the rapidly bursting 
shells lit up the darkening battle-field with spasmodic 
flashes, it was obvious that the effort had become 
desultory and undirected. What meant this useless 
wastage of ammunition? Was it mere bravado, 
was it a crude demonstration of confidence, or was 
it a last, reckless precursor of retreat ? None knew. 
When darkness at length fell, the fire of the 
Turkish guns gradually ceased, and the Greeks 
prepared to pass the night in their positions. I 
have endeavoured to cull some idea of the state of 
mind of the Hellenes as they lay tossed on that 
pitiless sea of uncertainty. That the Turks had 
been effectively shaken was held to be beyond 
doubt, for the Greeks had crept up to within a few- 
hundred yards of their lines, but they had fought 
stubbornly, and there were no available means of 
deciding whether they would retire under cover of 
darkness or again offer battle in the morning. The 
horror of that night at Sarandaporon can well be 
imagined. Tired, weary troops who for six days 



THE BATTLE OF SARANDAPORON 68 

had pressed forward in pursuit of their retreating 
quarry and had now, through the long hours, 
stormed up the rising slopes midst a murderous 
hail from the heights above, while their comrades 
dropped by their sides, some dead, some rent by 
shot or shell, to lie there groaning with the agony 
of shattered limbs, or gasping out prayers as their 
life's blood oozed out on to the brown earth. And 
then the suspense of it all! Not to know whether 
morning's dawn was to bring the surety of life for 
another day, or whether that deafening roar would 
begin anew and cut down hundreds more as they 
sped on towards the guns that must be silenced. 
And then the cold, pitiless rain poured down, and 
black, fearsome clouds shut out the feeble starlight 
and caused stretcher-bearers to stay their task of 
carrying off the wounded ; and the dead and dying 
lay all around, and on every side the air was rent 
with cries and groans and curses. Can the reader 
enter into the heart of that little Greek " piou piou," 
who a few days since had been weighing out flour 
or measuring out oil in his village store, as he lay 
there cold, hungered and wet in the midst of death 
and despair and thought of the wife and children 
he had left behind and whom he might cease even 
to think of to-morrow if — if the Turks were still up 
there! That these men bore the burden of patriot- 
ism willingly made it none the less heavy, nor did 
it render war any the less hellish. The Greek army, 
from Commander-in-Chief to drummer boy, would 
have given much to know, on that bitter, dismal 
evening, that Hassan Tahsin Pacha had indeed 
commenced to evacuate Sarandaporon. 



64 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

When the main Greek force moved forward 
against Sarandaporon in the early morning of 22nd 
October, the IV Division, bereft of its field artillery 
and composed of nine infantry battalions and three 
mountain batteries (in all about 12,000 men), was 
ordered to follow a bridle path which runs over the 
mountains well to the west of the main road, which 
it joins again at the northern extremity of the pass 
near the little village of Rahovo. Hassan Tahsin 
Pacha must not be too harshly judged if he failed 
to provide against such an emergency, for the 
strategy was new to Balkan warfare and the Greek 
staff were even themselves in doubt as to its 
practicability. 

The climatic conditions were of the most trying 
description, fog, rain and cold rendering the going 
difficult and hazardous. Throughout the whole day, 
without a halt, the division marched up and down 
the twenty miles of stony pathways in single file, 
and towards 7 p.m. reached Rahovo, where outposts 
were placed at the exit of the pass and upon the 
surrounding hill-tops. The fates were kind to the 
worn-out warriors, and the night passed without 
incident. In the grey dawn of the morning, how- 
ever, a Turkish force of uncertain strength was 
observed to be marching south from Servia. An 
engagement of an hour's duration ensued, ending in 
the retreat of the Ottomans, and peace reigned once 
more until, at 7 a.m., the outposts reported that a 
column of considerable importance was approach- 
ing from the south. The winding road and the 
presence of a dense fog delayed the action of the 
Greek general, but immediately all doubt as to 



THE BATTLE OF SARANDAPORON 65 

the identity of the enemy was removed, he ordered 
his three mountain batteries to open fire. The 
unfortunate Turks, disheartened by their defeat at 
Sarandaporon and weary with their day-long battle 
and night-long march, were taken unawares in a 
ravine which offered no possibility of defence. 
Terror-stricken and demoralised, they broke into 
frenzied rout. The infantry bolted in all directions, 
while the gunners cut the traces, and, mounting their 
teams, galloped for their lives. They left the whole 
of Hassan Tahsin Pacha's artillery — twenty-four 
field guns with a full complement of ammunition 
wagons — together with all their transport, in one 
long bedraggled line, stretching a mile and a half 
along the pass. 

There is but little to add to the experiences of 
the Greek army whom we left before Sarandaporon 
the previous evening. As the windy, wet mornmg 
of 23rd October broke, anxious eyes were turned 
towards the Turkish positions, but on the hills, 
enveloped as they were in rain clouds, nothing could 
be seen. Then the pickets of the advance guard, 
having pushed their way right up to the enemy's 
trenches, found them empty, and with joyous hearts 
the men of the VI Division rushed into the pass in 
pursuit of their beaten prey. Behind them the 
medical corps took up the burden ; the wounded 
were carried to a field hospital established at a 
deserted Turkish farm, and from thence evacuated 
in motor ambulances to Elassona. 

The IV Division, which had so brilliantly 
executed the flanking movement on the Greek left, 
entered Servia on 23rd October, two hours behind 



66 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

the retreating Turks who, despite their panic, had 
found time to wreak their vengeance upon the 
unfortunate Christian population, sixty members of 
which were mercilessly butchered in the streets of 
the town. It has always been impossible for those 
of us who appreciate many characteristics of the 
Turks, to understand why they do these things and 
destroy that sympathy which would otherwise so 
willingly be theirs. The massacre in Servia was 
so unnecessary, so uncalled for, and so likely to 
have occasioned reprisals on the Moslem civilians 
left behind. As it was, though little blame could 
have been attached to the Hellenes had they exacted 
a life for a life, no excesses were recorded, and the 
foUowinor morning^ the Crown Prince Constantine 
entered at the head of his army, which was now 
accorded a well-earned rest. Here we will leave 
them while we regard the great events which had 
almost simultaneously transpired farther north. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE BATTLE OF KOUMANOVO 

The reader will remember thai Zeki Pacha, with his 
Vardar army, had received orders to offer battle to 
the Servian army, following which, if unsuccessful, 
he was to defeat the presumed Bulgarian force 
descending from Kuestendil and to march forthwith 
on Sofia. This impending encounter was consist- 
ently referred to by the officers of Ali Riza Pacha's 
General Staff in Salonika, as the " Great Battle " 
which was to decide the campaign, and we awaited 
the issue with almost as great a confidence as did 
the Turks themselves. 

Farther west the Servians had drawn first blood. 
When their third army crossed the frontier the 
Turkish troops, together with their Albanian allies, 
retired to an advantageous position north of Pristina, 
where, after a bloody combat of six hours' duration, 
they were hopelessly defeated. Pristina itself fell 
into Servian hands with but little delay. Subse- 
quently, they occupied Ferizovitch without resist- 
ance and advanced to the attack of the famous 
Katchanic Pass, which bars the road to Uskub. 
The fighting in Albania, if it served no other 
purpose, had successfully demonstrated that the 
Albanians were of very little value in modern 

07 



6S THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

warfare. Their aversion to cannon was well known 
to all who had followed the course of the punitive 
expedition sent against them by the Young Turks, 
but their present failure must have been discon- 
certing to the Ottoman staff, since considerable 
importance had been set upon the assistance which 
these irregular warriors would be able to render to 
the army. AH Riza Pacha, at least, made no 
attempt to hide his disgust at their lamentable 
display, and he dispatched to Issa Boletinatz a 
telegram, the contents of which were communicated 
to me at the time, and which may be translated as 
follows : 

" Although you have stolen 63,000 rifles from 
our depots, you have done nothing — we have lost 
Pristina. This is a disgrace for the army and 
the nation. Your promises have proved value- 
less. You are useless for warfare, but at least 
you might form bands and harass the enemy ! " 

Some considerable resistance could doubtless 
have been offered to the Servians at Katchanic had 
Fethi Pacha been able to carry out his intention to 
send up reinforcements, but the Uskub Commander 
was faced with developments nearer home which 
preoccupied his attention. The Serbs were also, 
however, on the eve of a surprise. They anticipated 
that the Turkish resistance would be offered on the 
Plain of Ovtchepole, or even farther south. Their 
prognostications would have been correct had not 
so much precious time been wasted in four'parlers. 
Had war been declared a week earlier even the 
Turks would have been fearful of defeat, but bv 



THE BATTLE OF KOUMANOVO 6^ 

ifth. October they had begun to advance north- 
ward from their first concentration camp at Kuprili 
(Veles), inspired by the consciousness of impending 
victory. I found it difficult to resist the manv 
pressing invitations which I received to join that 
" Happy march to Sofia," but the necessity of con- 
troUing the facts relating to the operations over the 
entire Macedonian field detained me in Salonika 
until we lost touch with the vanquished Vardar 
army and I was able to go out and join the Turkish 
forces opposed to the Greeks. 

So Zeki Pacha had gone north to deliver his great 
strategic battle, and he was in position north of 
Koumanovo, and ready to assume the offensive, when, 
during the afternoon of 2 2ncl October, the Servian 
approach was reported and desultory firing com- 
menced. A heavy fog hung like a pall over the 
battle-ground, and neither side M^as able to estimate 
the strength of its opponents. Zeki Pacha had, 
however, sufficiently unmasked his enemy, and 
following his prearranged plan, on the following 
morning engaged the Servians over their entire 
front, throwing his chief strength against the left of 
their three columns in a determined attempt to drive 
them back on to the centre and break the line. The 
Turks found themselves superior in artillery, for 
bad roads had hindered the approach of the Servian 
guns, and the Servian infantry was therefore called 
upon to bear the brunt of the attack Not content 
with this superiority, the Ottoman centre was also 
ordered to attack the Servian left, and the mobile 
division of Kara Said Pacha was told off to move 
north from Istib and threaten their flank. 



70 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Throughout the day fighting of a very fierce and 
determined nature continued. The Turks dehvered 
attack upon attack in their effort to turn their enemy, 
whose position was rendered the more critical by the 
absence of reinforcements. Incessant rain and the 
transport of troops and impedimenta had turned 
the track into one long morass, and the much-needed 
reinforcements came not. Steadily, but irresistibly, 
the Osmanli advanced ; the Serbs slowly retired 
with ever-thinning ranks until, organised opposition 
being no longer possible, the men continued an 
individual resistance. It was shortly after noon, 
and the battle had gone badly for Servia, when, in 
the nick of time, the indispensable reinforcements 
arrived, and, entering into the fight with vigour 
and determination, they rained lead upon the ever- 
approaching Turks. So the struggle continued 
until, in the fading light of day, the Moslems made 
a supreme effort. Rushing towards the Serviar 
lines, heedless of the murderous fire which met their 
forward movement, they faltered not until, with the 
two races now face to face, it came the turn of cold 
steel. With bayonets fixed, all that were left of the 
Serbs hurled themselves upon the Osmanli and drove 
them steadily back towards their positions. I doubt 
not that the superior physique of the Servian 
peasant counted for much in that final assault, but 
as a last rally of a force inferior in numbers and 
decimated by day-long combat, it was a magnificent, 
supreme effort. 

Simultaneously, fighting of a much less strenuous 
and indecisive character had been proceeding in 
other parts of the field; but on the whole the 



THE BATTLE OF KOUMANOVO 71 

iortunes of war had gone to the Turks, and Zeki 
Pacha's dispatches, while admitting enormous 
losses, were of a most confident nature. His staff 
had, in fact, little doubt that their first mission had 
been accomphshed and that the junction between 
the Servian and presumed Bulgarian forces had 
been practically prevented. 

Bright eyes and glad hearts greeted me the 
following morning when I paid my accustomed visit 
to Ali Riza Pacha's headquarters in Salonika. 
Staid staff officers gave themselves up to merry jest, 
and there was more than the usual allowance of 
coffee and cigarettes, for the great battle had been 
won ; their imagination already saw the domes of 
Sofia's churches standing out against the horizon, 
and the Bulgarians were at last to be punished for 
the wrongs they had wrought in Macedonia. As 
the news spread through the town with lightning 
rapidity, Jews and Moslems joined in general rejoic- 
ing at the success of Ottoman arms. It is well that 
the future is veiled from our gaze. At least that 
kind provision of Providence permitted the disciples 
of Allah in our ^gean seaport one short hour of 
triumph — the last they were to enjoy for many a day. 
That night, while all Salonika babbled of the 
glorious victory, I remained in the quietness of my 
own home. I liked not to mingle with the throng 
and breathe the atmosphere of martial triumph lest 
I might perhaps throw an unconscious shadow over 
their happiness. For I already knew that Zeki 
Pacha had been beaten and that his great army was 
nothing but a beaten, panic-stricken mob flying on 
the wing of terror before its Christian conquerors. 



rs THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

A sad, downcast Ottoman, one who had shared 
the Pacha's friendship with me in happier days, 
had communicated to me the text of the telegram 
by which the Turkish Commander-in-Chief had 
announced his defeat. This is what he said: 

" I have already advised you that the great 
battle yesterday lasted until 5.30 to 6.30 p.m. (the 
telegram gave the always questionable Turkish 
hour). The 7th Army Corps lost heavily. In 
order to allow the 7th Corps to retire, I ordered 
Djavid Pacha to create a diversion on the Servian 
right, and instructed Fethi Pacha to gradually 
retire with those of his troops which were not 
surrounded. When the bugles sounded the 
retreat the 7th Corps was exposed to a terrific fire 
from the Servian artillery. It fled panic-stricken, 
not knowing how to escape the murderous fire. 
The 7th Corps was annihilated: 150 cannon, 
ammunition and provisions were abandoned in the 
flight. The few remaining soldiers have arrived, 
terror-stricken, at Uskub. The strategy of 
Djavid Pacha has therefore failed. On his right 
the battle continues, but he is not strong enough 
to drive the enemy back, and I fear his resistance 
will be brief. I lack news of his division. The 
5th Corps of Kara Said Pacha and a division of 
Nizams are fighting near Kotchana. They have 
inflicted severe losses on the Bulgars (?), but are 
broken and will retire to Istib. It is with the 
greatest sadness that I announce officially that our 
great battle is lost. We are plung-ed into dire 
affliction." 



THE BATTLE OF KOUMANOVO 7^ 

To the reader, this will seem but a mere notifica- 
tion of defeat; to us, who knew the man, and who 
bid him adieu as, light-hearted and gay, he set out 
to take command of his great army, it was a tragic 
message from a broken heart. 

Next morning set me a difficult task. News of 
the defeat had, of course, been carefully hidden from 
public knowledge, and it was necessary for me to 
appear a blissful innocent when I made my custom- 
ary visit to headquarters. The door had been 
rigorously barred against the inquisitive, but my 
intimate relations with the staff served me in good 
stead on this as on a subsequent occasion. And so, 
as the sentinel stood aside to let me pass, I squared 
my shoulders, put on a jovial exterior and burst 
unannounced into the chamber. There was little 
need for the play-actor. There before me lay a 
drama of real life. The laughing, chattering com- 
rades of yesterday were to-day saddened, tear- 
stricken, broken-spirited men. Drawn up in 
pathetic, woeful groups, they gazed in silence as 
I shed my mask and, reflecting as I must have done 
the anguish of my environment, I asked what meant 
this sudden change from joy to sorrow. 

" You'll excuse us," faltered one, " but we have 
nothing to tell you." 

I was fortunate, however, in obtaining a fair 
amount of news from Turkish sources, which, 
coupled with the information I have since gleaned 
from the Servian authorities and residents in Uskub, 
enables me to trace, I believe authentically, the 
subsequ«nt movements of the Turkish Vardar 
army. 



74 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

On the morning of the second day of the battle of 
Koumanovo (24th October), the Serbs brought up 
two divisions which had been hitherto held in 
reserve, and an artillery duel took place over 
the entire front — from 18 to 20 kilometres in 
length. At this epoch there must have been some 
two hundred and fifty guns in action, and their 
deafening roar can scarce be imagined by those 
whose experience is limited to the perusal of such 
inadequate descriptions as the most brilliant pen 
can draw. It was the turn of the Serbs to assume 
the offensive, and the infantry steadily advanced 
under cover of the artillery, which had already 
succeeded in inflicting enormous losses upon the 
Turks. After a combat of some seven hours' 
duration the Ottoman lines were forced and, the 
retreat once sounded, the troops of the 7th Army 
Corps flew pell-mell in all directions, the while the 
now victorious Sneider cannon raked them with 
shell fire. Guns were abandoned, rifles flung aside, 
provisions and ammunition and accoutrements were 
discarded as the army scattered in the wild rush for 
safety. The large proportion of Turks who were 
wounded in the back told its own story. The 
remnants which arrived at Uskub were formed by 
Fethi Pacha into a few battalions to aid in the 
defence of the town. 

The turning- movement which Zeki Pacha had 
ordered the 6th Army Corps to operate failed in 
like manner. Led by a division of Albanian Redifs 
— who took to their heels upon the retreat being 
ordered — the entire corps rushed headlong from 
the battle-field, having no thought save that of 



THE BATTLE OF KOUMANOVO 75 

escape from the Servian fire. Zeki Pacha subse- 
quently reported that all that was left to him of 
these tv/o great army corps amounted to less than 
40,000 men. 

The Turks abandoned on the field no less than 
one hundred and twenty cannon, together with 
thousands of rifles and enormous quantities of stores 
and ammunition. Kara Said Pacha's 5th Army 
Corps fared somewhat better, and, battered and 
beaten, succeeded in retiring to Istib. 

Uskub was, however, not yet lost, and Zeki 
Pacha, sending out the Hodjas to scour the country- 
side for volunteers, succeeded in collecting 15,000 
of these useless irregulars with whom, plus the 
40,000 terror-stricken soldiers left to him, he in- 
tended to put up a forlorn defence. Fethi Pacha 
was placed in charge of this already beaten horde, 
and massing them with the garrison artillery of 
Uskub at the station, he prepared to entrain for 
Zelenico, there to offer battle. The men had little 
enough stomach for the fight, but were about to 
entrain when a Bosnian Moslem, crying aloud that 
the Albanians were cowards and traitors, fired a 
revolver and killed an officer and an Albanian. " The 
enemy ! " cried the distracted warrior, and the 
defenders of Uskub took panic again and bolted, 
the majority of them down the railway line towards 
Kuprili (Veles), abandoning what remained of their 
cannon and discarding rifles and any other impedi- 
menta which might hinder their flight. Fethi Pacha 
and Djavid Pacha arrived at Kuprili later, and 
Kara Said having conducted an ordered retirement 
to the same centre, all that remained of the 5 th, 



% THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

6th and 7th Army Corps of the Turkish army there 
congregated/ 

The Occupation of Uskub. — Throughout the 
Macedonian campaign, the Consulates of the Great 
Powers, always the refuge of the oppressed Ottoman 
subject, played a notable role, and few, perhaps, had 
a more exciting time than those established in the 
flourishing market centre of Uskub. Immediately 
following the precipitated flight of the remmants of 
the Ottoman army from Koumanovo, the Consulates 
were invaded by a conglomerate mass of humanity: 
Christians, Jews and Mussulmans ; men, women 
and children ; officers, soldiers and non-combatants — 
all vied with one another for the protection of foreign 
flags. The Consulates were speedily packed with 
this nondescript mass, and, be it said to their credit, 
the representatives of the Powers not only opened 

* Zeki Pacha's official announcement of the flight from Uskub 
read as follows : 

" Fethi and Djavid Pachas, having calmed the panic among 
the troops who had retreated to Uskub, re-formed them into 
companies and concentrated them at the station with the cannon, 
ammunition, provisions and effects which had been saved from 
Koumanovo, together with the armament in depot at Uskub. 
The trains were ready and the locomotives under steam when 
a Bosniac among the soldiers commenced to blaspheme the 
Albanians, calling them traitors and cowards. He fired a 
revolver, and having killed one officer and one Albanian, cried : 
' The enemy is coming. ' The troops, again seized with panic, 
cut the traces which attached the horses to the cannon, and 
discarding all the cases of ammunition and provisions, took 
to their heels, unarmed, in the last stage of demoralisation. 
Djavid and Fethi, despite religious exhortation and prayers, 
were unable to stop the flight of the soldiers. All the canncm, 
horses, effects and ammunition were abandoned at tlie staiicav 
Tht idea of defending Zelenico had to be given up." 



THE BATTLE OF KOUMANOVO 77 

wide their doors, but to the utmost of their ability 
provided nourishment for their affrighted guests. 
The ValH (Governor-General) of Uskub sought 
sanctuary at the Russian Consulate. 

In the town itself authority was absent, and 
plunderers were given a free hand until the French 
Consul organised a police force whose members, 
replete with tricoloured cockades which cannot have 
failed to have evoked memories of the French 
Revolution, re-established a reasonable measure of 
security. 

Nothing was left to the remaining Turks but to 
surrender the town to the conquerors who were yet 
in ignorance of their conquest, and to request them 
to make a speedy entry. Thus it happened that the 
Consuls put on their medal-bedecked uniforms, and, 
with the Russian doyen at their head and the 
Turkish Mayor of Uskub in their train, set off for 
the Servian camp. The skies wept ; the roads were 
in quagmire ; and a bitter north wind swept across 
the plain as the international " parlementaires " set 
off in dilapidated carriages in quest of Prince 
Alexander. After a two hours' jolting journey they 
encountered a Servian patrol, whose commanding 
non-com, having no special orders to treat Consuls 
in any way different to ordinary mortals, dragged 
them from the seclusion of their landaus, blind- 
folded them, and drove them, their gold-braided 
trousers knee-deep into the muddy morass and their 
cocked hats and gaudy tunics exposed to the ruinous 
effects of the pelting rain, right up to the fringe of 
the camp. Here the Crown Prince, advised of their 
arrival, sent his automobile to conduct them to head- 



78 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

quarters, and, formalities ended, a detachment of 
the Servian army was ordered to Uskub, which it 
formerly occupied in time for five o'clock tea. In 
most of the foreign Consulates there the visitor may 
see, hanging on the wall, a mud-stained handker- 
chief folded in bandage — the most prized of many 
relics of the great Balkan War of 191 2. 

The reconquest of Uskub marked a red-letter day 
in Servian history. 



CHAPTER VJII 

THE WORK OF THE GREEK NAVY 

Despite the defeats inflicted upon them at Saran- 
daporon, Koumanovo, and simultaneously in Thrace, 
the light would have by no means been lost had 
the Turks been able to draw upon their immense 
reserves lying inactive in Asia Minor. The 400,000 
men they had engaged in the war in Turkey-in- 
Europe represented only a fraction of their fighting 
force. Under more favourable conditions than 
those which actually existed, the Ottoman General 
Staff would, from the outbreak of hostilities, have 
been pouring reinforcements, stores and food into 
Dedeagatch, Kavala and Salonika, and instead of 
being practically over by the end of October, the 
Turco-Balkan War would have been only at its 
beginning. 

The unfavourable condition which prevented 
this operation was, of course, the presence of the 
Greek fleet, and it would be well not only for the 
allies of Greece, but for the Greek army itself, to 
remember that if they succeeded in inflicting so over- 

79 



80 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

whelming a defeat upon the Osmanli, they owe the 
completeness and cheapness of their victory almost 
entirely to the Hellenic Navy. At a rough estimate 
it may be said that the Turks could have doubled 
the strength of their European army, and it is not 
unlikely that, under such circumstances, they would 
have turned the tables on their conquerors despite 
disorganisation and lack of preparation. Certain it 
is that the Greeks would have found it difficult to 
advance beyond Sarandaporon, that the Serbs would 
have been stopped at Kuprili (Veles), and that the 
advance of a newly landed Turkish column from 
Dedeagatch would have kept the Bulgars north of 
Adrianople. 

The foundation of Hellenic sea power was laid 
by that eminent Greek statesman, Tricoupis, who 
got together a fleet composed of three cruisers of 
doubtful value and five torpedo-boats. Several 
destroyers were added in 1906 and, four years later, 
the Georgios Averoff was ordered by the Govern- 
ment. Contrary to general impression, the ship 
was paid for out of the funds of the Treasury of 
Defence and not by Mr Averoff ; it bears his name 
as a tribute to the great and patriotic services he 
rendered to his country. Four British-built ocean- 
going destroyers, bought on the eve of the war, 
and two further ships of similar but lighter design 
presented by the Greek Americans, together with 
sundry other unimportant units, brought up the navy 
to its composition in 191 2. Apart from training 
ships and other units of no fighting value, the Greek 
fleet was, upon the outbreak of the war, made up as 
follows • 





TURKISH CRUISER iMESSUDlYEH AT SALONIKA. 




GREEK CRUISER "GEORGES AVEROFF " AT SALONIKA. 



I 



WORK OF THE GREEK NAVY 81 



Type 


Name 


Built 


Tonnage 


Armoured Cruiser 


Averoff 


igio 


lo.iiS 


Cruiser 


Psara 


i8qo 


5000 


!) 


Hydra 


1889 


)' 


M 


Spetsai 


n 


)) 


T.B. Destroyer 


Thycela 


1906 


400 




Sphendoni 


1) 


)» 




Lonchi 


)) 


)> 




Naukratoussa 


!) 


)) 




Aspis 


)» 


350 




Niki 


)) 


>» 




Doxa 


)) 


n 




Velos 


,, 


,, 




Keravnos 


I9I2 


560 




Nea Genea 


)) 


i> 


•>» I) 


Leon 


n 


1050 




Panther 


)) 


)» 




Altos 


)) 


)> 




Jarax 


)) 


) ) 


Torpedo-boats 


5 


1885 


85 


Submarine 


Delphin 


I9I2 


310 



In addition there were six merchant ships trans- 
formed into auxiHary cruisers. 

In igii a British Naval Mission was sent out to 
Athens at the request of the Greek Government, 
but with the exception of Commander Cardale and 
Engineer-Commander Watson, the officers do not 
seem to have given very great satisfaction. In fact, 
one of the points which the late King George 
impressed upon me during the first interview which 
I was privileged to hold with him after the Greek 
conquest of Salonika, was his dissatisfaction with the 
then existing naval mission and his desire that the 
British Admiralty should send out a new staff 
composed of officers on the active list. This was, 
fortunately, subsequently arranged, and upon the 



82 



THE BALKAN COCKPIT 



suggestion of the Greek Government, Admiral 
Mark Kerr's new mission again includes Messrs 
Cardale and Watson, but is otherwise composed of 
active officers, with the result that extraordinary 
progress is now being made by the Hellenic Navy 
towards perfection. 

The Turkish fleet, which had an overpowering 
superiority on paper, at the same time consisted of 
the following vessels: 



Type 


Name 


Built 


Refitted 


Tonnage 


Battleship 


Hairredin- 










Barbarosse 


i8gi 


1904 


10,600 


)) 


Torgud Reis 


1891 


1904 


10,600 


}} 


Messudiyeh 


1874 


1906 


9140 


)> 


Assar-i-Tefik 


1869 


1905 


5000 


^j 


Muin-i-Zaffer 


i86q 


1906 


2400 


Cruiser 


Hamidieh 


1905 




3830 


)> 


Medjidieh 


1903 




3442 


T.B. Destroyers 


12 


Modern 






Torpedo-boats 


5 


Old 






Torpedo-boats 


II 


Modern 






Gunboats 


10 


Antiquated 







It is not my intention to give a complete history 
of the naval campaign, nor do I intend to refer to the 
occupation of the ALgean Islands accomplished by 
the Greek fleet. I rather wish to deal only with the 
aspect of naval supremacy in the JEgean in so far as 
it affected the course of military history in Macedonia. 
The obvious duty of the Turkish fleet was to come 
out, defeat the Greeks, and clear the way for the 
transport of Asiatic troops to Thrace and Macedonia. 
Conversely, that of the Greek fleet was to blockade 
its enemy in the Dardanelles or defeat it in open sea. 



WORK OF THE GREEK NAVY 88 

As a base of operations, the Greeks seized the 
Island of Lemnos on 21st October, and forthwith 
inaugurated a strict watch over the mouth of the 
Dardanelles. Contrary to all expectations, the 
Turkish fleet showed no inclination to leave its 
hiding-place, and when, after the first great defeats 
in Macedonia, the need of reinforcements became 
increasingly manifest, the astonishment of the Turks 
themselves turned to disgust. " Our fleet must leave 
the Dardanelles," said a Turkish colonel to me, " and 
either send the Greeks to the bottom or go there 
itself. Either solution would be more compatible 
with national honour than its present inactivity." 

The Turkish fleet, however, remained in its 
sanctuary until, on 14th and 15th December, when 
there was little hope of retrieving the fortunes of the 
Ottoman armies, the M edjidieh appeared at the 
mouth of the Dardanelles, surveyed the situation, 
and forthwith retired. The following evening — 
1 5th- 1 6th December — the Messudiyeh, accompanied 
by the Barbarosse (flagship), Torgud Reis, and 
Assar-i-Tefik, sailed out in battle formation. The 
Greek fleet set off to meet its enemy, and after some 
firing at long range, the Admiral decided to take 
advantage of the superior speed of the Averoff, and 
proceed to the attack single-handed. He therefore 
signalled to his fleet to follow, and getting within 
close range (3500 yards) of the Barbarosse, got home 
with a salvo of 9.2 projectiles. The Turk then set 
her course for the Dardanelles, which, followed by 
the rest of the fleet, she succeeded in reaching safely. 
During the retreat a desultory fire was kept up by 
both fleets. On the Turkish side the Barbarosse 



84 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

was placed hors de combat, and the Messudiyah 
was also considerably battered. The damages sus- 
tained by the Greeks were negligible. The Averoff 
was struck by one large shell, probably fired from 
the land forts, and fifteen times by shell from guns 
of a smaller calibre. Her casualties were one officer 
and four men wounded. The Spetsai was struck 
four times, and the Hydra once, with insignificant 
results. 

There were afterwards one or two ineffectual 
demonstrations by the Turkish fleet, as a result of 
one of which the Hamidieh, either by mistake or 
design, escaped into open sea, and in addition to 
bombarding the town of Syra, and sinking the Greek 
auxiliary cruiser Macedonia, considerably worried 
the Greek authorities, particularly when, at a later 
date, they began the transport of Servian troops 
from Salonika to the Adriatic coast. For the rest, 
however, the exploits of the Haiyiidieh concern 
neither us nor the historian, and provide but a semi- 
comic interlude to a tragic story. 

Thus, thanks to her command of the sea, Greece 
was able to render an inestimable service both to 
herself and to her allies. The beaten Turkish armies 
were left to their own resources, and obhged to give 
up all hope of retrieving their fortunes. 

The Greek fleet limited the initial strength of the 
Ottoman forces ; it effectually prevented their rein- 
forcement ; it permitted the transport of nearly 
30,000 Bulgarian soldiers to Dedeagatch, and a like 
number of Servians to Albania; it would, aided by 
the proffered assistance of the Greek army, have 
enabled the allies to force the Dardanelles and dictate 



WORK OF THE GREEK NAVY 85 

terms of peace in Constantinople ; it, in short, 
rendered possible the Balkan War of 191 2. And yet 
we find Bulgaria ungrateful for this assistance, 
desirous not only of assuming all the credit for the 
defeat of Turkey, but, at a later stage, treacherously 
attempting to rob her ally of her share of the 
conquest. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE BATTLE OF YENIDJE-VARDAR 

From Servia to Verria. — After its arrival at Servia, 
the first necessity for the Greek army, which had been 
marching and fighting for eight consecutive days 
under the worst of cHmatic conditions, was rest; and 
it is but natural that one of the first orders issued by 
headquarters was to mount a strong guard over the 
bridge which crosses the Vistritsa River, some miles 
north-west of the town. The neglect to destroy this 
important bridge demonstrates either that the Turks 
were ignorant of the most primitive military tactics, 
or that their defeat had been so complete that they 
thought of little save to put a safe distance between 
themselves and their enemy. Its destruction would 
have delayed the Greek army for at least two days, 
since the river at this point is very wide, and bordered 
on either shore by extensive marshland. The troops 
were camped out in and around the town, where they 
remained for three days, while the Duke of Sparta 
and his staff occupied themselves with preparations 
for the continuance of the hunt — for hunt it had now 
become. 

On the Turkish side we received but the scantiest 
information as to the march of events. Not only 
had the terrorised remnants of Hassan Tahsin 

86 




Jenidje V^roar. 



BATTLE OF YENIDJE-VARDAR 87 

Pacha's army eventually re-formed into two columns, 
but the enterprising Greek peasantry developed a 
playful habit of interfering with the telegraphic 
communications, with the result that only a small 
proportion of the General's dispatches ever reached 
Salonika. He did, however, succeed in acquainting 
the staff that his army had been reduced to fragments 
and that his Redifs were so overcome with cowardice 
that they were absolutely useless as fighting material. 
" If, however,' he added, " you can send me adequate 
reinforcements and more cannon, I may yet be able 
to retard the Greek advance.'' 

Hassan Tahsin Pacha, however, was still able 
to maintain communications with Djavid Pacha 
at Monastir, and his subsequent movements were 
doubtless decided upon after consultation with that 
most capable of Ottoman Generals. 

The Turks now determined that Hassan Tahsin's 
army should retire on Verria (Karaferia), in the 
vicinity of which it was again reinforced by eight 
battalions and two batteries from Sorovitch, and four 
battalions and one battery from Katerina. In addi- 
tion, the Struma army, whose occupation had hitherto 
been to oppose a Bulgarian advance down the 
Kresna Pass, was ordered to come south from Demir 
Hissar and assist in the defence of Salonika. In 
Salonika itself the garrison consisted of a scratch lot 
of io,uoo troops of various categories, whom it was 
decided to retain in the town in view of a report that 
two transports had already disembarked a mixed 
force of Greek regulars and volunteers in the 
Chalcidic Peninsula. 

It must be remembered that at this time the 



B8 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Turkish army, cut off as it was from communication 
with the outside world, was ignorant of the misfor- 
tunes which had befallen the Osmanli in Thrace, 
and they, in their blissful ignorance, still cherished 
a more optimistic view of the situation than was 
warranted by the facts. They therefore considered 
that the moral effect of the capitulation of Salonika 
would be more destructive than even another defeat 
in the interior. 

On the other hand, the Turks determined to send 
a strong force south from Sorovitch. In this fashion 
it was hoped to catch the Greek army between two 
fires, and proceed to its undoing. 

It is not difficult to understand, therefore, that the 
Greek staff, deprived even of the scanty information 
at our disposal, was for some time undecided as to 
its future movements. To them also there was a 
doubt as to whether their enemy would retreat upon 
Monastir or make for Salonika via Verria, but the 
same arguments appealed to them as to the Turks, 
and it was considered more probable that Hassan 
Tahsin Pacha would elect to hasten to the defence 
of the Macedonian seaport. They therefore decided 
to advance on Verria with the main army of five divi- 
sions, and to dispatch the V Division to Kozani, with 
the object both of covering any flank attack from the 
direction of Sorovitch, and protecting their unique 
line of communication with Larissa via Elassona. 
Another vital consideration which carried much 
weight with the Greek staff was, that once masters 
of Verria and district, they would be able to open up 
an alternative, quicker, and safer source of supplies 
from the sea via Katerina or Lefterohori. 



BATTLE OF YENIDJE-VARDAR 89 

On 27th October preparations were made for a 
resumption of the advance, and the V Division set off 
in its important — and as subsequent events proved — 
perilous errand. The Hellenic army was now, 
thanks to the mountainous nature of the territory, 
and the paucity of roads, able to thoroughly scour 
the country over a front of more than forty miles. 
In the west centre they advanced the I, II, III, IV, 
and VI Divisions, while the left was covered by the 
V en route to Kozani. On the right, the VII Divi- 
sion, which had originally been left in reserve at 
Larissa, had moved up to Elassona, and from thence, 
following the road leading through the Olympos and 
Flambouro ranges, had successfully occupied the 
famous Petra Pass. This one fact reflects sadly 
upon the intelligence of the Turkish staff, for a very 
small force could have held the Petra Pass against 
an army, and the march of the VII Division, which 
outflanked the Ottomans at Yenidje-Vardar, and 
which was the first to actually occupy Salonika, would 
have thereby been considerably delayed. The only 
opposition encountered by the VII Division until it 
arrived at the Kara Azmak River, was that offered by 
a few Bosnian immigrants from Katerina, who were 
installed at the exit of the pass. 

Early on the morning of 28th October the Greek 
centre commenced its march to Verria. The II and 
III Divisions, with the artillery, took the high road; 
the I Division followed the right bank of the Vistritsa 
River, while the IV and VI Divisions crossed the 
mountains to the left. Before the Hellenes lay the 
long, tortuous, and difficult Pass of Tripotamos, and 
in the hands of any but the contemporary Turkish 



!m THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

army they would have found it an expensive expedi- 
tion. Hassan Tahsin Pacha had reached Kastagna, 
a position of great military value which dominates 
the road, on the 26th, and confided the principal 
defence to the new reinforcements received from 
Sorovitch (eight battalions and two batteries). The 
following day he reported to headquarters that the 
morale and discipline of his army had been restored, 
and that his actual position was good. The next 
morning, 28th October, the Greeks attacked, and the 
Turks, although they occupied heights from which, 
given average energy and pluck, they could have 
inflicted heavy losses upon their enemy, bolted after 
firing a few rounds, and left behind them eight 
ammunition carts fully charged. 

The Greek army passed a bitterly cold night in 
the mountain pass, at an altitude of over 3000 feet, 
and the following day reached Verria without 
further incident. 

The Battle of Yenidje-Vardar (Yenitza). — If 
the reader will glance at the map prepared to illus- 
trate the progress of this battle, w^hich sealed the 
fate of Salonika, he will gain an instructive idea of 
the problem which confronted the Greek staff upon 
the arrival of the Hellenic army at Verria. The 
road and railway, it will be observed, run almost 
parallel along the plain and cross the Kara Azmak 
River over a narrow neck of land which bridges 
the marshes lying north-west and south-east. The 
advance of an army in this direction could be 
effectively blocked by the destruction of the two 
bridges, which are but a little over one mile apart, 
for the marshland which flanks the stream and the 




THE GREEK ARMY — ARTII.LBRY IN ACTION. 




TUB GREEK ARMY — OX THE SHORES OF I>AKE YENID-IE. 



BATTLE OF YENIDJE-VARDAR 91 

nature of the surrounding terrain would prohibit the 
building of a pontoon bridge were the operation 
opposed by a comparatively small force. 

It will not, therefore, surprise even the tyro in 
military tactics to learn that the Duke of Sparta, 
now in possession of the railway, decided to profit 
by same and move his divisions north towards 
Vertekop. Thence he could take advantage of the 
carriage road leading from Vertekop to Salonika 
via Yenidje-Vardar, and of the wagon tracks across 
the fields which several days of frost had rendered 
suitable for the transport of artillery. The VII 
Division had reached the Bridge of Nisei on the 
Vistrica River on 30th October, and was accordingly 
told off to protect the main army from a flank attack 
by the Turks advancing over the Kara Azmak 
bridges. 

Yenidje-Vardar, however, is in itself a naturally 
strong position, for the town lies on the foothills of 
a range of precipitous mountains which it is impos- 
sible to outflank, and which are easily fortified to 
command the approaches until the lake and swamp 
which split the plain in twain are reached. It is a 
position, therefore, which, in the hands of a defend- 
ing army, would naturally be used to bar any 
attempted advance on Salonika. 

These deductions, so elementary in their nature 
should have been obvious to Hassan Tahsin Pacha, 
and it might have been expected that, on evacuating 
Verria, he would have proceeded across the plain 
to Yenidje-Vardar and have there placed his guns 
in position and thrown up formidable earthworks. 
Instead of so doing, he apparently decided that the 



92 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Greeks would endeavour to advance their entire 
force via Plati, for he fixed his headquarters at 
Culhalar, near the Kara Azmak River, and there 
concentrated what remained of his own army, to- 
gether with the reinforcements from Sorovitch and 
Katerina, and the 10,000 men, which was all that 
remained of AH Nadir Pacha's army on the Struma. 
The Turkish forces totalled about 30,000 men. 

The news of the Greek advance towards Vertecop 
was, as far as I was able to ascertain, brought by 
the Salonika Redif Division, which had also been 
entrained south from Sorovitch to Vertekop to the 
assistance of Hassan Tahsin, and it was apparently 
the precarious plight in which this force found itself 
as it hurried along the road to Yenidje-Vardar that 
forced the Turkish Commander to move his army 
westward to the same destination. My theory, if 
it is, as I believe, correct, would explain the hurried 
and inadequate entrenchments which were thrown 
up on the Turkish positions. 

When, on the morning of ist November, I took 
a military train to Kirdjalar — the Turkish foint de 
resistance to an advance along the railway line 
from Verria — the thunder of the guns could be 
heard at Salonika, and we knew that the great battle 
had commenced. Packed in a horse-box with fifty 
other atoms of suffering humanity, I reached the 
scene of action a little before midday, and, leaving 
the railway station, struck north-west across the 
plain to a point parallel to a line drawn between 
the opposing armies. The Turks were, as I have 
already indicated, in command of the heights behind 
lYenidje-Vardar, while the Greeks had marched in 



BATTLE OF YENIDJE-VARDAR 98 

five divisions across the plain in a north-east direc- 
tion. The Greek II Division, keeping to the main 
road, was brought to a halt at Bourgas, at which 
point a river some seventy-five feet wide blocks the 
way. The Turkish batteries rained a murderous 
fire upon the bridge, with the result that the Hellenes 
could do no more than bring their own batteries into 
action. Simultaneously the III Division on the 
Greek right joined in the melee, and for some hours 
a fiercely contested artillery duel continued. The 
mist from the marshes unfortunately prevented me 
from observing the actual results of the fire, but 
whether owing to indifferent gunnery or inferior 
material, it was obvious that while the Greeks were 
making exceedingly effective practice, a great pro- 
portion of the Turkish shells failed to explode. 

During this time the Greek IV Division was 
threatening the Turkish right, and in the early 
afternoon the Osmanli endeavoured to relieve the 
pressure by a counter attack. The Hellenes were 
greatly inferior in number on this flank, and would 
possibly have been obliged to retreat had not the 
Turks overlooked the presence of the VI Division, 
which, holding the extreme left of the Greek front, 
swung round on their flank in turn and inflicted a 
severe defeat upon them. 

The unsuccessful sortie had the effect of dimin- 
ishing the strength of the Turkish fire on Bourgas, 
and taking advantage of the lull, the Greeks forced 
the bridge and got within effective range of the 
Ottoman positions. 

At dusk I made my way back to Kirdjalar, and, 
clambering on to the top of a railway wagon, sat 



94 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

counting the flashes from the rival guns until %s 
night fell and the firing ceased, a torrential rainfall 
drove all and sundry to shelter. 

Despite a report, received with tremendous joy 
in the camp, to the effect that the Greeks had been 
driven back with a loss of four guns, it was evident 
that the game was up ; but the General command- 
ing the three battalions and two batteries posted 
at Kirdjalar would not hear of my departure. 
" To-night," he told me with enthusiasm, " I am 
going to make a night attack in order to dislodge 
two battalions of Greeks who are lying at Plati." 
My suggestion that there might be a division behind 
these two battalions, and that his own force was 
inadequate for the defence of such a vital strategic 
point as the Kara Azmak River, he found amusing. 
" Look," he cried, with perhaps reasonable confi- 
dence, " the bridge is already mined with dynamite. 
I have but to press a button and the whole structure 
will be blown to atoms. How then can the enemy 
pass ? " 

And thus, under cover of night, the battalions, 
which had all day bivouacked in the shadow of the 
straggling trees, were moved down to the bridge, 
and at daybreak, to the accompaniment of pelting 
rain and a biting north wind, the rifles began to spit 
out their messages of death and destruction. The 
issue was not long in doubt. It was a soldiers' 
battle, and the unhappy Turks were mown down by 
the score as they retreated before the Greek fire. 
Then from somewhere in the invisible distance there 
came the roar of cannon, and the Greeks^ making 
excellent practice, rained shrapnel around the 



BATTLE OF YENIDJE-VARDAR d5 

station. The Turkish gunners brought their guns 
into action with commendable bravery, but they 
were an already beaten rabble, and with a sauve 
qtd peut, officers and men rushed pell-mell for the 
shelter of a departing train. And, in that panic- 
stricken flight, the Commandant forgot to press the 
famous button and that same afternoon the Greeks 
passed the river. 

Simultaneously the " victorious " Turkish troops 
of the yesterday were flying in disorder from 
Yenidje-Vardar. I had left Kirdjalar to seek our 
horses and heard but a cannonade of short duration 
before the Ottoman army was seen to be retreating 
towards the Vardar Bridge. It was the same old 
story of retreat. A battalion of Redifs, throwing 
aside their rifles, took to flight ; the infection spread, 
and the entire force was soon with its back to the 
enemy. In vain did Hassan Tahsin Pacha send a 
detachment of cavalry to the bridge to drive back 
the fugitives, and the Commander was obliged to 
transfer his headquarters from Culhala to Topsin 
and prepare his last line of defence before Salonika. 
On the field of Yenidje-Vardar the Turks left 3000 
prisoners and fourteen cannon, with the full comple- 
ment of ammunition wagons. The Greek losses 
totalled about 2000 killed and wounded. 



CHAPTER X 

THE TURKISH DEBACLE 

The cause of the Turkish flight from Yenidje 
cannot be better explained than by repeating a con- 
versation which I held with some fugitives whom I 
met en route : 

" Where have you come from ? " 

" From Yenidje-Vardar." 

" Why did you run away after your victory of 
yesterday ? " 

"What else could we do, Effendi? We had 
fought for four days without food, the Greek fire was 
slaying our comrades on every hand, our ammuni- 
tion was spent, and when our officers began to run, 
we ran too. We have had no chance to fight." 

And so, with the Turks retiring across the Vardar 
to Topsin, and the Greeks advancing unopposed 
from Yenidje, I onsaddled and returned to Salonika. 

I have seen many memorable sights in Macedonia, 
but none so heartrending and distressing as that 
ride back to Topsin the following morning (3rd 
November). The crowd was as thick as upon the 
road to Epsom on a Derby Day, but misery had 
taken the place of happiness, and sorrow was sub- 
stituted for joy. I can but pick out typical instances, 

96 



THE TURKISH DEBACLE 97 

from the mournful throng that I met wending its 
way from the theatre of war. First there was a 
mud-bespattered party of horse artillery minus their 
guns and horses. 

" Where are your guns ? " I cried in passing. 

" At Yenidje ; the Dushman (enemy) took them," 
they replied. 

Then came a troop of barefooted Moslem peasants 
leading donkeys upon which were piled mattress and 
quilt and coffee-pot, all they had saved in the rush 
from Yenidje, when the Greek guns set fire to the 
rude huts they called home. Then a richer home. 
Two weedy oxen were dragging a creaky wooden 
wagon, which threatened to break asunder at every 
dip in the road. The worldly goods and chattels 
of these fugitives — beds, mats, the inevitable prayer 
rug, the shallow copper utensil which serves alike 
as cooking pan and salver even now as it did in 
Biblical times, a dozen unhappy ducks strung by 
their webbed feet to the frame — were piled high on 
the conveyance, and on top of this conglomera- 
tion of household effects sat wives and mothers, 
their sorrowful faces hidden from the sight of man, 
weeping and wailing as they ineffectually tried to 
comfort aged parents or to hold suckling babes to 
their breasts. They, even they who owned fields 
of maize in their native village, stoppe-d me and 
begged for bread for the starving children who 
walked with torn, bleeding feet by the side of the 
primitive caravan, and who here and there ran to the 
roadside and lapped up the stagnant water left by 
the autumn rains. 

There were sons leading their widowed mothers 

G 



98 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

to the great city, where tramcars run without horses 
and where lamps burn without oil; weary fathers 
carrying in their tired arms the infants they had 
lifted from beds of sickness ; Mohammedan Hodjas 
urging along the stubborn mules which bore their 
veiled hanums ; boys assisting crippled fathers ; 
husbands carrying pick-a-back their exhausted 
wives. There were thousands of such scenes in 
this panorama of desolation. 

Intermingled with this motley throng of home- 
less fugitives, wounded soldiers trudged painfully 
along — weary, sad, wan, khaki-clad figures who had 
dragged their ruined bodies through the long and 
bitter night. One barefooted, yellow-faced soldier 
with a bullet in his shoulder led an ass upon which 
was huddled his brother with a shattered thigh. The 
pitiable spectacle arrested me and I offered them a 
few piastres ; they asked but for food, and devoured 
the sparse repast of bread and cheese I had put into 
my saddlebags, like hungry wolves. 

" You are an English Effendi," said one in his 
Anatolian patois. 

I nodded an affirmative, and he added : 

" My father fought beside you in the Crimea ; he 
always told me that the English were our friends. 
Allah reward you for what you have done to-day." 

I could write without end of such sights, and 
repeat a hundred stories of woe and suffering ; I 
could tell of the cold, stiff bodies of wounded 
soldiers who had succumbed to their injuries en 
route, and lay with the brown earth for a bier. 
Farther along the highway were the corpses of 
two women who, driven from their sick-beds, had 



THE TURKISH DEBACLE 99 

breathed their last during the cold of the bitter 
November night ; and anon I passed at a canter, 
for I dared not stay to look, the small frail body 
of a little child, its lifeless eyes gazing wistfully 
up to the heavens. These poor martyred creatures 
received but a shrug of the shoulders from the 
fugitive throng which passed them by. 

Moving in my own direction was a stream of 
weary, dejected soldiers. They were men who, 
having fled from the battle-field, had succeeded in 
reaching Salonika, and were then being driven back 
to the fighting line. Unwilling warriors, without a 
fight left in them, they went to seek their battalions 
only because fresh desertion meant starvation and 
death. Muddied and often bootless, ready to 
renew their flight at the first crack of a Greek 
machine-gun, they were themselves utterly worth- 
less as soldiers, and constituted, in addition, a 
menace to the es-prit de corps of their companions. 

My first meeting with the troops was at the River 
Gallico. Here a division of 8000 to 10,000 men 
(nobody knew exactly how many) was massed as a 
second line of defence. I can perhaps best describe 
them as "very Redif." Their quality was poor, 
and infantry, cavalry and artillery, all jumbled up 
together, bore witness to the lack of organisation, 
which, possibly more than anything else, was the 
cause of the utter rout of the Turkish arms. The 
men, who had touched no food for twenty-four hours, 
were cold and hungry. They had neither bread, 
nor water, nor tents, and they were destined to sleep 
again in the biting north wind on the fields from 
which they had already gathered every blade of sun- 



100 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

baked herbage to feed their horses. What stomach 
had they, these poor hungry souls, to fight the last 
fight for the defence of Salonika? There was here 
no enthusiasm for war, none of that determination to 
die in the first trench for the honour of Islam that 
one reads about in Turkish journals, and which one 
had thought a short fortnight previously was one 
of the attributes of the Moslem soldier. On the 
contrary, the double line of sentinels which sur- 
rounded the encampment was ever busy repelling, 
often corps-a-corps, the deserters who sought to 
break the lines and fly from hunger and death. 

From Gallico to Topsin the conditions on the 
road were much the same as those I have already 
described. At length I came again in sight of the 
Turkish headquarters, and found the defending 
army entrenched on exposed ground on the eastern 
bank of the Vardar. The great bridge which spanned 
the river had been destroyed, but at certain points, 
in spite of the heavy rains, the waterway was appar- 
ently still fordable. The troops, some 15,000 all 
told, were obviously unfit to fight. Their moral 
was gone, the men were deserting in droves, and 
not even officers brandishing revolvers and wielding 
whips were able to keep them within the lines. The 
General Staff was busily engaged re-forming into 
battalions the remnants who had escaped from 
Yenidje. 

Across the river, some three miles distant, I saw 
the Greeks advancing along the road to Menteche, 
where they finally encamped. Against the 60,000 
Greeks, the Turks had in their two camps but 
25,000 demoralised, tired, and hungry men, whose 



THE TURKISH DEBACLE 101 

numbers were being daily diminished by wholesale 
desertions from the ranks. 

Returning once more to Salonika, I saw troops 
digging trenches upon the slopes which rise to the 
hills covering Langaza, thus indicating Hassan 
Tahsin Pacha's line of retreat. He obviously in- 
tended to skirt the mountains to the north-west and 
make for Serres. 

The Greeks had advanced their VI Division on 
the left flank and had seized Gumendze, town and 
station, thus commanding the bridge which crosses 
the Vardar River at that point. It was doubtless 
this strategy which caused Hassan Tahsin Pacha to 
reject his first plan of offering resistance at Topsin, 
and to fall back on Salonika. His sun had, how- 
ever, already set, for with the Servians at Demir- 
Kapou and the Bulgarians at Drama, he was but 
staving off th6 evil day at the cost of intense suffer- 
ing on the part of his army. 

The Turk had shot his last bolt in Macedonia. 
Except for his personal charm, there were few 
qualities left to him except that of a born warrior; 
but now he had been shorn even of his martial 
glory. It is still almost unbelievable that this war- 
like nation, the stories of whose valour fill some of 
the most thrilling pages in the military history of 
the world, could have degenerated into a beaten 
rabble flying before the onslaught of despised 
Servians and Greeks, people who till yesterday 
scarce dared to lift their voices when questions 
affecting their most vital interests were discussed 
and settled. The Greeks had most effectively 



102 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

wiped out the stain of 1897. They had shown 
themselves the superior of the Turk in organisation, 
strategy and even in personal courage. 

Undoubtedly one of the chief causes of the 
Turkish debacle was an entire absence of prepara- 
tion and forethought. Men cannot be expected to 
fight on an empty stomach, and it was the rule 
rather than the exception for the troops to be left 
three or four days without food. No attempt was 
apparendy made to grapple with the difficulties of 
feeding the armies. I have already described the 
starvation existing at Gallico and Topsin ; yet these 
encampments were but a few kilometres from 
Salonika, where there was bread and water in pro- 
fusion, and where the Government had ample cash 
in hand to make the necessary purchases. There 
surely existed no logical reason why carts should 
not have taken out bread and water and brought 
back the wounded soldiers who had been left un- 
aided to drag their maimed bodies along the high- 
way. The medical service was distinguished by 
its inadequacy or total absence, and it was unfortu- 
nate for the wounded that the Red Cross and Red 
Crescent detachments sent from England and other 
countries were unable to arrive by some more 
expeditious route. 

Nor do I wish to dwell too strongly upon the 
lack of courage exhibited by the Ottoman soldier. 
It was lamentable, deplorable and unimaginable. 
Words fail me to describe the utter demoralisation 
I found in the ranks of the Turkish troops after 
the defeats at Kirdjalar and Yenidje-Vardar. Let 
nie give one instance from another field, for the 




Greek Advance on Salonika. 



^s-^-. 



• Kjorzine 



Venedje VariAar 



Tekeli • 



2Btn 




Langazar 




THE TURKISH DEBACLE 103 

truth of which I can vouch. An exceedingly- 
bright Turkish officer, who spoke perfectly seven 
languages, and who had passed through the artillery 
school directed by one of the German instructors 
with a first-class certificate, was given the command 
of a regiment of artillery at Kozhani. His batteries 
were mounted on a well-nigh impregnable position 
on a hill-top, and yet, immediately the Greek forces 
came in sight, he hoisted the white flag and surren- 
dered with his men without firing a single shot. In 
many instances entire divisions of Redifs bolted 
from the battle-field and apparently never stopped 
running until they reached their homes. 
Sic transit gloria. 



CHAPTER XI 

SALONIKA BEFORE THE OCCUPATION 

I QUESTION whether, throughout its kaleidoscope 
history, Salonika has ever passed through a period 
of greater interest or import than those last few 
days which preceded the Greek occupation. We 
were cut off from all communication with the out- 
side world, and surrounded by hostile armies. At 
Yenidje there were Greeks, at Kuprili (Veles) 
Servians, at Strumnitza and Demir Hissar Bul- 
garians, while outside the range of the guns at 
Karaburun lay the Greek fleet, eager to rush in and 
seize its impotent prey. Provisions were at famine 
prices ; wise housewives had laid in stores of flour ; 
Consulates had made necessary arrangements for 
sheltering threatened subjects. Greeks were exult- 
ant but terrified ; Jews downcast and fearful for 
their worldly possessions ; Turks broken-spirited but 
stoical ; Europeans indifferent but anxious. 

In the cold, muddied streets men wandered aim- 
lessly hither and thither, discussing the eternal 
" situation " in entire ignorance of facts or details. 
On the outskirts of the town outgoing reinforcements 
jostled unconcernedly with incoming refugees. At 
the British Consulate, the representatives of the Great 
Powers sat and discussed the measures to be taken 

104 



SALONIKA BEFORE OCCUPATION 105 

for the protection of their subjects in the event of 
panic, pillage or massacre, for the position of the 
Christian inhabitants was critical, and there was 
still no news of a pending arrival of the prayed-for 
European warships. Yet until the Turkish gendar- 
mery was disbanded some days after the capitulation, 
and the Greek and Bulgarian troops entered in force, 
the town was perfectly quiet — nobody was molested, 
no houses were looted, there were no epidemics ; and 
this, let it be noted in justice to the Turks, despite 
the fact that there were at times within its walls 
thousands of starving soldiers who begged but never 
demanded bread. 

So occupied, however, were the Saloniciens with 
their own immediate security, that few eyes were 
turned towards the palatial prison at the south end 
of the town, where an Imperial captive lived in 
ignorance of the calamity that had befallen the 
Empire over which he had once held undisputed 
sway. And it was not until the evening of 29th 
October, when the German stationnaire Loreley 
dropped anchor in the port, that the people deigned 
to concern themselves with the fate of Abdul Hamid. 
Yet it was obviously unthinkable that the ex-Sultan 
should be allowed to fall into Greek hands, and 
the Germans added another to their long list of 
diplomatic successes at Constantinople when they 
proffered their stationnaire for the conveyance of 
the fallen despot to safer climes. There was little 
in the way of ceremony. The following morning 
Hamid, his thirteen wives and his suite, were driven 
down to a landing-stage in closed landaus, and 
from thence rowed out to the German ship. It was 



106 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

the first glimpse of the outside world that his 
imprisoned Majesty had had for three years, and if 
one could judge from his continued and animated 
conversation, he appeared to mightily enjoy the 
experience. He had aged considerably since I had 
last seen him, but, nevertheless, was as active and 
alert as of old. No sooner was the illustrious 
traveller aboard, than the Loreley weighed anchor, 
and Abdul Hamid's sojourn in Macedonia was 
brought to its interesting close. 

At 11.30 o'clock the next evening the already 
highly strung nervous systems of the Saloniciens 
were subjected to a further strain. At that hour, 
when citizens were confined to their houses and 
streets were deserted save for military patrols and 
a few scavenging pariah dogs, the silence of the 
night was broken by the report of a terrific explosion. 
A frail little Greek torpedo-boat,^ braving the big 
guns at Karaburun, had run into the bay and tor- 
pedoed the dismantled Turkish gunboat, the Fethi 
B Olden ^ amidships. Then, an hour later, when the 
forts had been advised of the catastrophe by tele- 
phone, she cheekily ran the gauntlet again. What 
Karaburun was doing is another question, but the 
sleepiness of the Salonika defences does not in any 

^Torpedo-boat No. 11, built in 1884 and commanded by Lieut. 
Votsis. It fired an old 1870 Whitehead torpedO', so obsolete in 
pattern that it was impossible to purchase a fuze for it. The 
fuze was, as a matter of fact, ingeniously manufactured at 
Piraeus by Lieut. Waring of the British Navy. 

" The Fethi Boulen was built in 1871. She was refitted in 
1907, and during the Turco-Italian was re-armed with up-to- 
date Krupp artillery; but just prior to the Turco-Balkan war 
she was partially dismantled. 



SALONIKA BEFORE OCCUPATION 107 

way detract from the courage of the handful of men 
who risked their hves for their country's glory, or limit 
our appreciation of the successful manner in which 
they accomplished their mission. That the hull of 
the Fethi Boulen was scarcely worth the torpedo 
which sank it, was of little account, for the effect 
upon the moral of the Turks was most noticeable. 
It was the eve of the crucial battle of Yenidje- 
Vardar. Salonika was in danger, but the Ottomans 
at least felt that the elaborate fortifications and 
powerful searchlights of Karaburun rendered them 
safe from attack by sea. But now Greeks had 
stepped in where Italians had feared to tread, and the 
Turks would henceforth have manifested httle sur- 
prise had the heavens themselves opened and rained 
down shrapnel. It was a disconcerting little episode 
which rendered resistance increasingly hopeless. 

Next morning H.M.S. Hampshire steamed slowly 
and majestically into port. Seldom, I think, has 
the appearance of even a British w^arship produced 
such a marked effect upon a cosmopolitan popula- 
tion. The Saloniciens breathed again, and many 
who for a week past had not crossed the threshold 
of their doors, put on their gala dress and sauntered 
along the quay as if " fear " was the one word absent 
from their vocabulary. Consular precautions, how- 
ever, were by no means relaxed, and British residents 
received private notice of an official rendezvous 
where they were to forgather at the first sign of 
trouble. 

British and foreign battleships continued to arrive 
until the port of Salonika harboured an imposing 
international fleet. And here I must anticipate 



108 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

events somewhat in order to relate an amusing 
anecdote. The Turks had effectively mined the 
entrance to the port, and had provided two pilot 
tugs, which served to guide incoming and out- 
going vessels through the mine field. Fearing the 
capture of these exceedingly useful auxiliaries, the 
Commanders of the foreign warships, assembled in 
solemn council, decided to place them under the 
protection of the French flag. When, then, follow- 
ing the capitulation of the town, the Sphacteria led 
in the Greek fleet of flour-laden transports, her Com- 
mander hailed the pilot tug. But it was too much 
for Captain Effendi. French ffag or no French flag, 
his Moslem soul would not permit him to conduct 
a Greek warship into Salonika, and he declined the 
summons. A blank shot fired across his bows failed 
to influence the Turk, but when the Greek followed 
up with a live shell, he surrendered and got to 
business. All might then have ended without further 
ado, but the Commander of the French cruiser 
Bruix is a man of action, and, scenting an insult to 
the French flag, he cleared his decks for action and 
threatened to ram the Sphacteria unless satisfaction 
was immediately given to his outraged national 
honour. Thus the Sphacteria surrendered in her 
turn, and guards of honour from the English, 
Russian, and Austrian battleships having been 
solemnly paraded upon the deck of the Bruix, 
apologies were tendered, and the tricolour cere- 
moniously saluted. 

Eloquent testimony of the overwhelming nature of 
the Turkish defeat were the thousands of refugees 
who descended upon Salonika as a plague of locusts. 



SALONIKA BEFORE OCCUPATION 109 

Frenzied and terror-stricken and flying for their 
lives before the Serbo-Bulgarian advance to the 
north and east, they had held up southward-bound 
trains, and, clambering upon the engines, footboards, 
buffers, and wagon roofs, had faced the cold of the 
winter nights, and suffocation in the sulphur-laden 
tunnels, in their haste to reach sanctuary. Not more 
than fifty per cent of those who set out upon 
the perilous journey ever reached their destination. 
The rest were trampled underfoot or left sticking 
helpless in the muddy morass as the mass pressed 
forward towards safety. The race was to the 
strong; the weak were abandoned to their fate. 
Not a few, benumbed with cold, slipped from their 
insecure foothold on the trains and disappeared, 
unheeded and unregretted by their terrorised 
companions. 

The first arrivals were quickly housed in the 
local mosques and schools, but, as the numbers 
rapidly augmented, the available accommodation 
was speedily exhausted, and the immigrants were 
thrown upon their own resources. The hardship 
thus entailed would have been approximately slight 
under favourable climatic conditions, but the 
weather was unusually inclement and the poor 
wretches were forced to seek an exposed haven 
against sheltering walls, and to rig up nondescriDt 
rags as a protection against the incessant downpour 
and the bitter north winds which swept down from 
the snow-clad mountains. 

For Salonika it was a new danger, more potent 
than the advance of hostile armies, and the possi- 
bility of an outbreak of contagious disease caused 



110 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

the gravest anxiety. Wallowing in the mud and 
filth engendered by an entire absence of sanitary 
arrangements, one saw expectant mothers without 
so much as a mat upon which to lie, and women and 
children starved for want of bread. The camps 
presented a truly heartrending spectacle : numbers 
lay dying of hunger and exposure, while small-pox 
and other still more insidious diseases had already 
made their dreaded appearance. Charitable ladies 
and gentlemen, armed with European funds, sacri- 
ficed themselves in an effort to alleviate the general 
suffering, and worked among conditions of appallins^ 
squalor. They even succeeded in establishing a 
small hospital for the treatment of female patients, 
but their efforts were necessarily insignificant when 
spread over the 40,000 odd fugitives who had inces- 
santly flowed into the town. 

Simultaneously with the arrival of the first inrush 
of refugees had appeared train after train packed 
with the Turkish wounded from Koumanovo. 
Many were already dead from their wounds and 
subsequent exposure ; the rest were evacuated to 
the military hospitals, where they at length broke a 
fast in many instances of four days' duration. 

The paper organisation of the Turkish Army 
Medical Corps was fairly satisfactory. With each 
division there were two mobile field hospitals, each 
with a capacity of two hundred beds and staffed 
with four doctors, two officers and one hundred and 
eight men. One operating table was provided wil;h 
each field hospital. The transport of serious cases 
was to have been effected, according to the existence 
or non-existence of roads, by the primitive and 



SALONIKA BEFORE OCCUPATION 111 

uncomfortable ambulances with which the Turkish 
army was equipped, or in stretchers slung over the 
backs of pack-mules. By the latter method two 
men could be carried by each mule. The base 
hospitals were provisionally situated at Ipek, Pris- 
tina, Uskub and Monastir. None but serious cases 
were intended to be brought to the central hospitals 
at Salonika, where a total of seven thousand beds 
had been provided. For railway transport, the 
authorities were dependent upon thirty well-fitted 
German ambulance wagons, each containing eight 
beds, but in view of the obvious insufficiency of the 
provision, the Turks decided to improvise further 
accommodation by slinging stretchers from the roofs 
of ordinary closed goods trucks. In addition to the 
Army Medical Organisation, the Red Crescent 
Society, under the direction of Dr Nazim Bey, the 
well-known Young Turk leader, provided a further 
two hundred beds in a large school recently erected 
in Salonika by the Committee of Union and 
Progress, 

It is almost superfluous to remark that the Medical 
Service, like all other Turkish army organisations, 
rapidly went to pieces. The wounded who reached 
the railway dragged themselves there, and were 
thereupon shipped down to Salonika in any goods 
trucks which happened to be available. The two 
hundred who were fortunate enough to secure 
accommodation in the Red Crescent hospital — 
which had funds to spare at its disposal — received 
adequate and even excellent attention. The rest 
were huddled on the floors of the dirty military 
hospitals. These latter institutions presented a 



112 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

revolting spectacle. In the first military hospital 
I saw seven hundred suffering Ottoman warriors 
lying groaning on the filthy floors in their field 
uniforms, their wounds swathed in dirty blood- 
stained bandages. The sole nourishment consisted 
of mouldy bread. Bandages, medicines, articles of 
comfort and suitable food were all lacking, and 
the hospital was lamentably understaffed. It was 
perhaps characteristic of the absence of camara- 
derie, which distinguished the Turks at this time,, 
that though the Red Crescent Hospital, over- 
stocked with medical necessities, was but a stone's 
throw away, its principals refused to raise a hand 
to aid their less fortunate brethren who had fought 
for the common cause. 

In the town the population awaited the now 
inevitable ringing down of the curtain on the 
Turkish reign in Macedonia. Hope had been 
abandoned in the Moslem breast, and the only 
question was how long it would take the Greeks to 
cross the Vardar River. 



CHAPTER XII 

TOWARDS SURRENDER 

The occupation of Gumenze by the Greeks, referred 
to in Chapter X, enabled them to threaten the flank 
of the remnants of the Turkish army encamped upon 
the left bank of the Vardar River. Hassan Tahsin 
Pacha, after his experiences at Sarandaporon and 
Yenidje-Vardar, had no doubt by this time culti- 
vated a wholesome dislike for Greek flanking move- 
ments, and he at once signalled the hopelessness 
of defence and struck panic into the hearts of the 
Salonika Turks, who forthwith insistently demanded 
the capitulation of the town. He then gave up the 
idea of defending the river, and retired to Yenikoiy, 
where he took up a position stretching practically 
from the sea to the Derbend River, east of Daoutbali. 
Here he was reinforced by the ragtag and bobtail 
of the Turkish army — some 7000 men of all ages 
and sizes — who had been collected in and around 
Salonika and hurried off to the front. But few of 
them knew anything of the discipline or arts of 
war, their military education having been necessarily 
confined to eleventh-hour instruction in the methods 
of holding and loading a rifle. However, roused 
to action by the fervent appeals of the Moslem 
Hodjas, they went forth to war to join an already 

113 H 



114 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

beaten, unwilling horde, to whom their presence but 
constituted an additional danger. 

Before deserting the Vardar, however, Hassan 
Tahsin Pacha had successfully accomplished one 
obvious duty — he had fired one of the spans in the 
wooden bridge across the river and thereby blocked 
the Greek advance. The railway bridge across the 
Kara Asmak was, of course, intact and in the hands 
of the Hellenes, but its surface required planking to 
permit the passage of artillery, and the Greeks were 
thereby kept back until 7th November, upon which 
day their army of six divisions crossed the Vardar, 
when headquarters were installed at Topsin. 

Meanwhile, the Chalkis Peninsula, lying to the 
south-east of Salonika, was overrun with bands 
commanded by Greek officers, augmented by several 
battalions of Greek soldiers who had been disem- 
barked upon its, for them, hospitable shores. From 
farther north, around Nigrita and Orfano, and from 
the Panghaion district, came news of the presence 
of Hellenic troops, while the Bulgarians were 
reported to be descending, practically unopposed, in 
three columns. Small wonder then that the popula- 
tion of Salonika, Turks, official and unofficial, Jews 
and Europeans, brought their influence to bear upon 
Hassan Tahsin Pacha with the object of inducing 
him to give up a hopeless fight and surrender 
the town to the Greeks. Capitulation, with or 
without a combat, was considered inevitable and 
beyond doubt. When returning from a visit to the 
Turkish camp on 6th November, I met numerous 
detachments of gendarmes who had quitted their 
post and fled, carrying with them their arms and 



TOWARDS SURRENDER 115 

effects. They had, they told me, to think of their 
wives and famihes, and were not going to remain 
to be taken prisoners by the Greeks. The pohcing^ 
of Salonika was thenceforth entrusted to patrols of 
volunteers chosen by the overseers of the various 
districts. Government funds, together with the 
receipts of the post and telegraph offices, were 
deposited in the Ottoman bank, and all through the 
night into the early hours of the morning a cursing-, 
swearing mob of Government employees besieged 
the Konak, clamouring for salaries due to them for 
the past month. 

In the midst of all this panic and despair, there 
was one calm, tranquil personality. Proceeding to 
the Konak on the evening of 8th November, I found 
Nazim Pacha, the Governor-General, sitting on a 
divan with his legs curled up under him, calmly 
writing his last letter as Valli of Salonika. His 
nation had lost its reputation ; Islam had been 
driven out from Macedonia, and he had lost his 
post ; but he nevertheless sat there serene and appar- 
ently unaffected by the tremendous history in the 
making around him, as if wishing to show to all the 
world that if his people were no longer invincible 
soldiers, they yet retained that quality of passive 
indifference to misfortune which has ever been one 
of their most striking characteristics. 

In obedience to the wishes of the population of 
Salonika, Nazim Pacha had upon several occasions 
requested Mr Harry H. Lamb, H.B.M. Consul- 
General and doyen of the Consular Corps, to bring 
his influence to bear upon Hassan Tahsin Pacha in 
order to obtain his consent to an early capitulation 



116 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

of the town. Mr Lamb, however, considering that 
his position did not entitle him to interfere in mih- 
tary questions, abstained from all action save that 
appertaining to the preservation of public order, 
until, on 7th November, the Turkish Commander- 
in-Chief himself requested him to open pourparlers 
with the Duke of Sparta. Then, accompanied by 
the representatives of the Powers signatory to the 
Treaty of Berlin, he set out for the Greek head- 
quarters. 



CHAPTER XIII 

THE CAPITULATION OF SALONIKA 

[Introductory to Chapter. — The capitulation of Salonika has been 
the subject of much controversy, and the facts have been so 
maliciously distorted, that I have thought it well to amplify my 
own notes by a careful investigation, during which I have been able 
to collect not a little documentary evidence. I therefore feel 
justified in asserting that the following history of the events con- 
nected with the surrender of Hassan Tahsin Pacha's army and the 
capitulation of the great Macedonian seaport is in every respect 
authentic— Au rHOR.] 

The Greek army of six divisions crossed the River 
Vardar on 7th November, when headquarters were 
installed at Topsin. At 4.30 p.m. the Crown Prince 
was advised that a special train had reached Tekeli 
(where two battalions under Lieut. -Colonel Kon- 
stantinopoulos were by then quartered) carrying" 
delegates with a letter from Hassan Tahsin Pacha, 
Commander-in-Chief of the Turkish forces defend- 
ing Salonika. This document advised the Crown 
Prince that the Consuls of the Great Powers, in 
company with some Turkish officers, desired to 
meet the General commanding the Greek army, and 
begged him, at the same time, to postpone the 
attack on Salonika until such meeting had taken 
place. The Crown Prince having notified his 
willingness to receive the deputation, the Consuls- 
General of Great Britain, France, Germany, and 

117 



118 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Austria, accompanied by General Shefik Pacha, 
proceeded to Topsin. The Consuls declared that 
they had urged upon Hassan Tahsin Pacha the 
desirability of avoiding a military engagement, in 
order to avert the danger threatening Salonika, and 
that the Turkish Commander was prepared to do so 
on the condition that he was allowed to retire with 
his army to Karaburun, there to remain until the 
conclusion of peace. The acceptance of these 
terms would, of course, have given the Greek army 
possession of Salonika on 8th November. The 
Crown Prince replied to the effect that he fully 
realised the danger, was desirous of sparing the 
town and obviating any loss of life or damage to 
property, but that his first and foremost object being 
to overpower the enemy, he must insist upon the 
surrender of the Turkish army, its disarmament, and 
the capitulation of Salonika and Karaburun ; he 
added that he would be willing to allow the Turkish 
officers to retain their swords and to accept their 
parole d'honcur to refrain from further action 
against the alhed armies. Shefik Pacha expressed 
his inability to accept these conditions on his own 
authority, and stated that it would be necessary 
for him to return to Salonika and there consult his 
commanding officer. He was informed that, failing 
a satisfactory reply by 6 a.m. on the following 
morning, military operations would be resumed. 

Shefik Pacha returned at 5 a.m. next day (8th 
November), and conferring with Colonel Dousmanis 
and Captain Metaxes, the plenipotentiaries of the 
Crown Prince, advised them that Hassan Tahsin 
Pacha was disposed to accept the proffered con- 



CAPITULATION OF SALONIKA 119 

ditions with the exception of the clause relating to 
the surrender of Karaburun, and that he further 
desired to retain 5000 men under arms to protect 
the unarmed prisoners. Upon the Duke of Sparta 
refusing to entertain any modification of his original 
terms, the Turkish delegates requested a renewed 
delay of six hours to permit a further consultation 
with Hassan Tahsin Pacha. This, however, was 
refused, and Shefik Pacha was notified that an order 
for the immediate advance of the Greek army would 
be forthwith issued. 

We now come to the dispositions of the Greek 
army on 8th November, for the better understand- 
ing of which reference should be made to the 
sketch map. The positions on the morning of this 
day were as follows : 

Extreme right — Two battalions of Evzones 

(light infantry) at Tekeli. 
Right. — VII Division at Arapli. 
Centre. — III Division at Sariomer. 
Centre. — I Division at Bounardja. 
Left. — II Division at Vatiluk. 
Extreme left. — Cavalry brigade at Kjorzine. 
IV and VI Divisions in reserve at Vatiluk and 

Vardarovci. 

In the early morning the cavalry brigade had left 
Kjorzine with orders to advance to Guvesna on the 
Serres road, with the object of intercepting the 
Turkish retreat. The II Division, under General 
Kalaris, was ordered to march from Vatiluk to 
Dremiglava and Baltza. The remaining divisions, 
I, III, VII, crossed the Hne Arapli-Sariomer- 



120 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Bounardja, and advanced to attack the Turkish 
positions on the line Lembet-DaoutbaH-Gradobor. 
The extreme right proceeded towards Harman- 
keuy-Salonika, and at about 2 p.m. the entire army 
was developed in battle order against the enemy's 
position. 

At 12.30 p.m. the Crown Prince with his staff 
set out to witness the advance of the Greek troops 
in the direction of Siamli. At this time, no mem- 
bers of the staff anticipated that the Turks would 
offer battle, all their information pointing to the fact 
that the enemy was unfit to make any serious resist- 
ance. It was felt, therefore, that sooner or later 
the terms offered by their Commander-in-Chief 
would be accepted. No sooner had the staff ridden 
off from Topsin than Shefik Pacha returned and 
was received by two officers, who subsequently 
reported to H.R.H. that the Turks held out for 
their original conditions. The Crown Prince and 
staff then took up position upon a hill situated near 
to Siamli, from whence a broad outlook on the 
territory lying north-west of Salonika is to be 
obtained. They were there able to observe the 
advance of the I and VII Divisions. 

At 3 p.m. a Lieutenant of Cavalry rode up, 
bearing a message to the effect that at 11 a.m. 
that morning the Greek Cavalry Brigade had 
encountered a mixed cavalry regiment of Bulgarians 
and Servians at Apostolar (32 kilometres north-west 
of Salonika). This advance guard was followed at 
a distance of three hours (12 to 15 kilometres) by a 
mixed brigade, with a division three hours again in 
the rear. The mixed regiment had reported that it 



CAPITULATION OF SALONIKA 121 

would spend the night of Sth-Qth at Golobasi. It 
is important to note that this was the first intimation 
received by Greek headquarters of the proximity of 
a Bulgarian force. 

The Crown Prince then wrote the following letter 
to the Bulgarian General (I received the copy from 
Bulgarian sources) : 

" Headquarters of the Greek Army, 
" Before Salonika, 

" 8/A November (n.s.), 
3 f'l^- 
" MoN General, — I have just learned that your 
cavalry has arrived at the village of Apostolar, and 
that it is followed by you at a distance of lo kilo- 
metres — your destination being Salonika. While 
expressing my joy at this juncture of our armies, I 
have the honour to inform you that I am already at 
the head of my army before that town, which, as I do 
not anticipate any serious resistance, I shall probably 
enter this evening. I hasten to communicate this 
information to you in order that you may spare your 
troops the march on Salonika, and, if you think such 
a course advantageous, direct your forces where the 
military need is more pressing. 

" {Signed) Constantine, Duke of Sparta, 
" Commander-in-Chief of the Greek Army. 

"Addressed to General Th£odoroff, Kilkish." 

The Greek Commander-in-Chief then rode north 
to the point at which his centre was crossing the 
River Gallico. From there the Turkish positions 



122 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

at Daoutbali and Gradabor could be plainly dis 
cerned, and it was observed that the enemy was 
making no preparations to offer battle. 

On the morning of this day I had left Salonika, 
and ridden out to the proximity of the Greek out- 
posts. Damp, foggy weather prohibited any detailed 
inspection of the lines, and the French aviators 
who were whirring above assured us that the inclem- 
ent conditions had prevented them from gleaning 
any information concerning the movements of the 
Hellenes. It was, however, clear that the principal 
column was advancing along the road from Topsin 
with a flanking party already well east of Tekeli, 
The Greeks were at midday exactly 8 kilometres 
from Salonika. Early in the afternoon I perceived 
a Turkish officer, bearing a flag of truce, riding over 
the hills towards the Greek lines. At 3.15 p.m. he 
reached the Greek outposts and handed a letter 
addressed to the Crown Prince from Hassan Tah- 
sin Pacha. This communication was received by 
H.R.H. when he reached the vanguard of the HI 
Division, and was worded as follows : 

" Son Altesse le Prince Constantin, 
" Chef de V Annee Hellenique. 

" J'ai I'honneur d'informer votre Altesse que 
j'accepte la proposition de votre Altesse faite hier. 

" {Signe) Hassan Tahsin, 
" Le General de Division et C ommandant du 
" huitieme Corps de VArmee Ottomane!'' 

(" I have the honour to inform Your Highness 
that I accept your proposition of yesterday.") 



CAPITULATION OF SALONIKA 123 

Upon this the further advance of the army was 
suspended, the VII Division on the Greek extreme 
right and the detachment of two battahons under 
Lieut. -Colonel Konstantinopoulous being, however, 
instructed to continue their march to Salonika in 
order to occupy the outskirts of the town. 

Meanwhile, the Duke of Sparta had dispatched 
two officers of his staff — Lieut. -Colonel Dousmanis 
and Captain Metaxes — to Salonika, there to discuss 
and draw up the protocol of capitulation. The 
Crown Prince rode to Tekeli, where he intended 
passing the night, and there arrived, wrote a second 
letter to the Bulgarian General commanding, to the 
effect that the Greek advance guard would shortly 
enter Salonika, the army taking entire possession on 
the following day. One of the conditions of the 
surrender being that Hassan Tahsin Pacha would 
effect the disarmament of his troops himself in forty- 
eight hours ; the Crown Prince was desirous of avoid- 
ing the entry into the town with a very large force, 
his wish being to avert any danger of disturbance. 

Colonel Dousmanis and Captain Metaxes having 
been directed by a Turkish officer to meet the Otto- 
man Commander-in-Chief at Daoutbali, proceeded 
to that village, where they were informed that Hassan 
Tahsin Pacha had meanwhile returned to Salonika. 
They followed immediately, and reached the Govern- 
ment Konak between 9 and 10 p.m. Pourfarlers 
were immediately begun, and the protocol of the 
capitulation was drawn up on the base of the 
terms proposed by the Crown Prince in his capacity 
of Commander-in-Chief of the Greek army. The 
complete understanding was facilitated by the dis- 



124 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

cussion being carried on in Greek, a language of 
which Hassan Tahsin Pacha possesses a perfect 
knowledge. The dragoman of the vilayet — Djelal 
Bey — was invited to draw up the document in 
French, and towards 1 1 p.m. same was signed by 
Hassan Tahsin Pacha and the Greek plenipotenti- 
aries. No copy was made either in Greek or 
Turkish. 

Upon the Turkish Commander expressing some 
apprehension lest the Greek H Division, in the 
course of its turning movement, should come into 
contact with some part of the Turkish army which 
was ignorant of the capitulation, Colonel Dousmanis 
immediately dispatched an officer with a written 
message acquainting General Kalaris (commanding 
the n Division) with the fact of the surrender. 
Throughout the discussion no mention was made of 
the proximity of a Serbo-Bulgarian force. 

At this point it is interesting to note that up to 
this time no news whatever concerning the advance 
of Bulgarian troops along the Serres road had 
reached headquarters, and that if Hassan Tahsin 
Pacha was aware of the fact, he kept the information 
strictly to himself. 

During the night, information reached Greek 
headquarters to the effect that the two battalions 
of Evzones had reached the town and were quartered 
in the suburbs (to be exact, adjacent to the brewery). 
At lo p.m. on 8th October, a detachment of two 
officers and ten men were partaking of refreshments 
in the Olympos Cafe, Salonika's principal rendez- 
vous. The entire VH Division reached the western 
entrance to Salonika towards 2 a.m. on the morning 



CAPITULATION OF SALONIKA 125 

of the 9th, and later entered and took possession. 
Simultaneously, the new military and civil officials 
were appointed, and the quarter of the town in and 
around the railway station occupied. 

A great deal has been written regarding the 
presence around Salonika of the Bulgarian army on 
the 8th and 9th November. 

The officially ascertained information which 
reached the Greek headquarters was as follows: 

Up to 3 p.m. on 8th November the Crown Prince 
and his staff had not the faintest idea of the proximity 
of the allied army. On 8th November, as already 
stated, the first meeting with a presumed mixed 
Serbo-Bulgarian force of cavalry was reported from 
Apostolar. On the same date, towards 5 p.m., the 
Greek cavalry brigade advancing from Yenikeuy 
on Guvesna encountered a Bulgarian column of all 
arms on the Serres road. Lieutenant Staikos, of 
the Greek cavalry, who had been present at Topsin 
during the first discussion regarding the capitulation 
of Salonika, was ordered forward to meet the Bul- 
garians. Nearing Guvesna he found their column 
coming to a halt, General Petroff and Mr Stancieff 
(Bulgarian Minister at Paris) having just dismounted. 
Lieutenant Staikos hastened to impart to General 
Petroff the information that the Turkish army was 
encircled by the Greek advance, and that four- 
■parlers for their surrender and the capitulation of 
Salonika had been commenced the previous day. 
To this General Petroff responded that he knew 
nothing of that, and added that he was resolved to 
attack and bombard Salonika early the following 
morning. It should here be noted that though the 



126 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Bulgarians were aware that the Greek army, after 
the battle of Yenidje-Vardar, was operating on the 
right side of the Vardar River, they apparently made 
no attempt to communicate with the Greek head- 
quarters ; on the other hand, the Greek General Staff 
was under the impression that their alhes were still 
at Demir Hissar or Serres, as no rumour even of a 
victorious battle or important resistance on the part 
of the Turks had heralded their advance. 

The interview between Lieutenant Staikos and 
General Petroff was reported to headquarters on 
9th November. 

In the early hours of 9th November, the Greek II 
Division was at Demiglava and Baldja, and prepara- 
tions were being made for an advance towards Aivatli, 
when Captain Georghiou, of the Greek Infantry, 
accompanied by a Turkish officer, hastened up to 
the Commanding Officer (General Kalaris), and 
handed him the order, written in the name of the 
Commander-in-Chief and forwarded by Colonel 
Dousmanis after the signature in the Konak of the 
protocol of capitulation. The tenor of this com- 
munication was to apprise General Kalaris of the 
Turkish surrender on the previous evening, and to 
order him to suspend all further operations. Almost 
simultaneously. General Kalaris observed to his 
left, in a north-westerly direction, a column of 
infantry approaching from Guvesna, and marching 
south in the direction of Aivatli. This he first 
imagined to be Turkish troops falling back on 
Salonika, but at that moment a Bulgarian officer 
rode up and revealed the nationality of the approach- 
ing column. To this Bulgarian officer General 



CAPITULATION OF SALONIKA 127 

Kalaris immediately handed a translation, written 
in pencil, of the communication which he had just 
received, and urged upon him the necessity of 
its immediate delivery to the General commanding 
the Bulgarian forces. Meanwhile, the Bulgarians 
marched past the front of the Greek division, and 
developing a small detachment in battle order, 
opened fire against the retiring Ottoman troops. 
A few rounds of artillery were fired and, not- 
withstanding General Kalaris's communication, the 
Bulgarian column continued to advance upon 
Aivatli. 

Much capital has been made out of this so-called 
battle between Turks and Bulgarians outside 
Salonika. The Bulgarian story, as given officially 
to the writer shortly after their entry, was to the 
effect that at 5 p.m. on 8th November their forces, 
descending on Salonika in three columns, encoun- 
tered resistance on the part of the Turkish army. 
Their 49th and 50th Infantry regiments, together 
with the 7th Artillery regiment and 2nd Mountain 
Battery, engaged the enemy in an action which con- 
tinued until 9 p.m. At 2 a.m., on 9th November, 
two columns advanced and occupied the foothills of 
Aivatli and Laina. At 9 a.m. the Turkish artillery 
opened fire, the battle ceasing at 2 p.m. The 
engagement was described as a great battle, in the 
course of which the Bulgarians suffered heavy losses. 
They did not, however, bear any evidence of this, 
and a subsequent visit to the alleged battle-field 
disclosed the fact that only three Turks had been 
killed on the top of one of the hills as a result of the 
explosion of a Bulgarian shell. The Turks them- 



128 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

selves persistently alleged that they had been fired 
upon during their retirement, and while it is true 
that a certain amount of cannonading was heard both 
on the evening of the 8th and the morning of the 
9th, it is equally beyond doubt that nothing in the 
nature of a " battle " ever took place. 

The same day (9th November) another officer. 
Captain Papadiamandopoulos, was dispatched by 
motor-car, bearer of a further letter from the Greek 
Crown Prince to the Bulgarian General. 

While the Greek General Staff was yet with- 
out knowledge of the afore-mentioned incident, 
the Turkish Commander-in-Chief, now a Greek 
prisoner, protested against an unwarrantable attack 
on his troops after they had surrendered, and it was 
further ascertained that the Bulgarian commanding 
officer had demanded of Hassan Tahsin Pacha the 
same protocol of surrender as had been drawn up 
between him and the Crown Prince of Greece. To 
this request Hassan Tahsin Pacha replied that 
having already surrendered to the Greek army, he 
could not do so again to a second adversary. 

In order to protect the now defenceless Turkish 
army from a second attack, the Greek VII Division 
was ordered, before dawn on Sunday, loth Novem- 
ber, to occupy the northern entrance to the town. It 
further received instructions to supervise the dis- 
armament of the retiring Ottoman troops, and to 
prevent anyone entering or leaving Salonika. 

Upon the events which had transpired at Aivatli 
being reported to the Greek Commander-in-Chief, 
he dispatched Captain Mazarakis to the Bulgarian 
General, with instructions to express his (the Greek 



CAPITULATION OF SALONIKA 129 

Commander-in-Chief's) surprise and regret that not- 
withstanding his repeated intimations of the surrender 
of the Turkish army and the capitulation of Salonika 
on 8th November, the Bulgarians had opened fire on 
the Ottoman troops, and had also demanded from 
Hassan Tahsin Pacha a similar protocol of surrender 
to that contracted with the Greek army. Captain 
Mazarakis encountered General Petroff at Aivatli 
and delivered his message. The Bulgarian General 
replied that he knew nothing of what had transpired, 
and had taken the communication of the II Division 
as a ruse on the part of the Turks to permit of their 
making an easy retreat. He added that it was only 
at 4 p.m. (gth November) that he observed that the 
Ottoman army was actually falling back, and then 
realised that the communication from the General 
commanding the II Division was genuine. General 
Petroff further admitted that he had requested 
Hassan Tahsin Pacha to surrender to him also. 
Upon Captain Mazarakis expressing his astonish- 
ment at General Petroff's ignorance of the facts with 
regard to the capitulation, the General insisted that 
he had received no advice of same from the Greek 
Commander-in-Chief. (There exists, however, at the 
Greek headquarters, a receipt, signed by a Bulgarian 
officer at 2 p.m. on 9th November, acknowledging a 
letter from the Greek Crown Prince concerning the 
capitulation of Salonika.) Captain Mazarakis replied 
that he considered this inexplicable, as the Greek 
Commander-in-Chief had repeatedly sent him 
special notifications, but added that Greek head- 
quarters could not possibly have sought to enter 
into communication with the Bulgarian army before 

I 



130 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

7th November, as they were totally ignorant of its 
presence in the vicinity. 

It is well known, of course, that the Bulgarians 
carried out not one, but a series of forced marches 
in their endeavour to arrive first at Salonika. They, 
moreover, encountered but the most feeble resistance 
on the part of the Turks en route. The Ottoman 
" Struma " army had, owing to the rapidity of the 
Greek advance, been withdrawn from its positions 
against the Bulgarian columns and had been sent to 
reinforce Hassan Tahsin Pacha's command. The 
Greeks had, on the other hand, to overpower Hassan 
Tahsin Pacha, against whom they had been pitted 
since the outbreak of hostilities, and who had been 
continually reinforced throughout the duration of the 
campaign. 

Towards ii a.m. on loth November an officer 
arrived at the Greek headquarters (then at the 
Government Konak at Salonika) with the object of 
requesting the Crown Prince to allow two Bulgarian 
battalions to enter the town. The staff officer 
present replied that he felt it would be more seemly 
were the General commanding the Bulgarian divi- 
sion to come and make known his wishes to H.R.H. 
personally. 

About I p.m. a deputation of Bulgarian officers, 
comprising General Theodoroff, Mr Stancieff and a 
subaltern officer, was announced and was immedi- 
ately received by the Crown Prince. Speaking 
through Mr Stancieff, General Theodoroff com- 
plained that his troops had been stopped at the 
northern entrance to the town by Greek outposts, 
who stated that, at the order of the Greek Com- 



CAPITULATION OF SALONIKA 181 

mander-in-Chief, nobody was permitted either to 
enter or leave the town. He added that the army 
under his command had fought a heavy battle of 
four to five hours the day before (9th November), 
and that he had sustained heavy losses in killed and 
wounded/ General Theodoroff now requested 
permission to enter Salonika with two battalions, 
stating that his soldiers were tired and wet, havino" 
been exposed to the rain all the previous day and 
night. The Crown Prince expressed his surprise 
at the mention of a serious battle on the 9th, as the 
Turkish army had surrendered at 3 p.m. on the 8th, 
and he asked whether the General had not received 
his several letters advising him of the Greek advance, 
the pourparlers, and the surrender and capitulation 
of Salonika. General Theodoroff replied that the 
fact of the Turkish surrender was made known to 
them by a note brought to them by an " orderly " — 
(we have previously stated that General Kalaris had 
personally handed it to a Bulgarian officer) — that it 
was scribbled in pencil and signed by a " certain 
Kalaris." He further explained that little import- 
ance was attached to this note, as it might well have 
been a ruse on the part of the Turks. The Crown 
Prince admitted his astonishment at this statement, 
and forthwith enlightened the Bulgarian General as 
to the advance of the Greek army on 8th November, 
and the subsequent surrender of the Turkish army, 
concerninof both of which events he had hastened to 
notify Bulgarian headquarters. He added that the 

' I still possess a report, written for me by a Bulgarian staff 
officer, v\hich distinctly states that there were "no Bulgarian 
casualties." 



182 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Turkish army had begun to fall back on Salonika 
as soon as Hassan Tahsin Pacha had notified 
his various units of his decision to surrender, and 
that the force encountered by the Bulgarians must 
certainly have been the retiring Ottoman troops. 
General Theodoroff, however, insisted on the fact 
of a hardly won victory which had cost him many 
casualties. Mr Stancieff then stated that he had 
himself entered the town the day previously (9th 
November), and that he had found Hassan Tahsin 
Pacha at the Konak, surrounded by his staff, busily 
issuing orders. The Crown Prince suggested that 
the Turkish Commander-in-Chief might possiblv 
have been engaged in giving instructions regarding 
the disarmament and other similar matters. Mr 
Stancieff further admitted that he had encountered 
Greek officers and soldiers in Salonika on gth 
November. 

Upon the Bulgarian General repeating his request 
that permission be granted for two battalions to enter 
the town, the Crown Prince repHed that to his great 
regret he could not accord this upon his own responsi- 
bilitv, it being a question that he must needs report 
to his Government, and concerning which he must 
demand special instructions. He added that, in 
accordance with a promise previously given, he 
wished to avoid molesting the inhabitants by bring- 
ing^ too many troops into the town, as such a course 
would inevitably necessitate the forcible requisition- 
ing of suitable lodgings for the soldiers, and might 
conceivablv lead to looting and other disorders. For 
this reason he himself proposed to quarter only two 
battalions in Salonika, the rest having received 



CAPITULATION OF SALONIKA 133 

orders to find quarters in the surrounding district. 
General Theodoroff tliereupon replied that he could 
answer for the good behaviour of his men, that he 
had sufficient lodgings provided for them by the 
Bulgarian community, and that, recognising the 
authorities appointed by the Greek Commander-in- 
Chief, he would submit in every way to the rules and 
regulations prescribed by the Commander of the 
garrison. The Crown Prince again submitted that 
on a matter of such importance, which might eventu- 
ally lead to a " condominium," it would be necessary 
to demand instructions from the Hellenic Govern- 
ment. The Bulgarian General continued to argue 
that he did not consider that the Greek Government 
could have any objection to his request being' 
granted, and pressed his point by stating that he 
asked but for the hospitality of an allied army for 
only two battalions. The Crown Prince promised to 
refer the matter to Athens immediately, and stated 
that he trusted to receive an answer by nightfall. 
The Bulgarians assented and withdrew. At this 
interview Princes Nicholas, Andrew, Christopher and 
Prince George (son of the Duke of Sparta) were 
present. 

At this time the Greek staff were under a 
distinct impression that the Bulgarians were using 
every possible argument to enforce their entry into 
Salonika. The necessity of bringing two battalions 
of tired and rain-sodden troops into the town, while 
30,000 equally tired and rain-sodden men would, 
according to their own arrangements, have to stay 
outside, certainly could not have been very apparent. 
The staff even go so far as to state that had the 



184 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Crown Prince been definite in his refusal, the Bul- 
garians would have entered, if necessary, by force. 
In this connection it is interesting to remember that 
the Bulgarians claimed to have sent an ultimatum 
to the Greeks, wherein they threatened to enter the 
town by force. Though the importance of the docu- 
ment in question was no doubt exaggerated, I believe 
that the Bulgars did actually train their cannon upon 
the town, and that, so great was their chagrin at find- 
ing themselves a day late, they would have been 
prepared to shell their allies had permission to enter 
Salonika been refused them. In such an event, the 
Crown Prince and the Greek army alike would have 
found themselves in a distinctly critical position, and 
Europe would have viewed the matter in a very 
unpleasant light. And, on the other hand, had the 
Bulgarians accepted the refusal as final, they would 
have kept a trump card up their sleeve, for the Duke 
of Sparta, the Greek army and the entire Greek 
nation would have been mercilessly chided for 
having refused hospitality to two battalions of an 
allied and friendly nation. 

As matters developed, however, they were spared 
the risk, for on the evening of the same day Mr 
Stancieff called at Greek headquarters and stated 
that after the interview which he and General 
Theodoroff had held with the Crown Prince, a 
military council had been called together at the 
Bulgarian headquarters, at which it had been decided 
that in case of a refusal on the part of the Hellenic 
Government to grant the desired permission, General 
Theodoroff should be given ten hours' notice, when 
he would withdraw his two battalions. 



CAPITULATION OF SALONIKA 135 

In the meantime the necessary permission had 
been granted by the Government for the two bat- 
taHons to enter the town, and on Monday, nth 
November, towards midday, they marched in, 
followed by eight others, with cavalry and artillery 
in addition. 

The lodgings prepared by the Bulgarian com- 
munity being insufficient, many other buildings, 
including the Hamidieh School (prepared by Greek 
headquarters for a military hospital), the mosque of 
St Sophia, etc. etc., were violently seized and con- 
verted into barracks. During a week or ten days 
the orders of the Covimandant de la Place were 
respected, but were eventually overlooked, and the 
Bulgarians then inaugurated their own military 
patrols, who continually interfered with the Greek 
police arrangements. 

The text of the protocol of capitulation is as 
follows : 

Protocol of 2^th October, 191 2 (v.s.) 

Between H.R.H. the Commandant-General of 
the Greek Army and H.E. the Commandant- 
General of the Turkish Army the following has 
been agreed to : 

Article i. The arms of the Ottoman soldiers 
will be taken and deposited and kept under the 
responsibility of the Greek Army ; a minute will 
be made to this effect. 

Article 2. The Turkish soldiers will be quar- 
tered part of them at Karaburun, the other part 
at the so-called Topdji barracks ; they will be fed 
by the Salonika authorities. 



186 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Article 3. The town of Salonika is surrendered 
to the Greek Army until the conclusion of peace. 

Article 4. All the high military officials and 
officers are authorised to keep their swords and 
will be free in Salonika. They will give their 
word not to take up arms again against the Greek 
Army and its allies as long as the present war will 
last. 

Article 5. All the high civil officials and em- 
ployees of the vilayet will be free. 

Article 6. The gendarmes and the policemen 
will carry their arms. 

Article 7. Karaburun will be used for quarter- 
ing the disarmed Turkish soldiers ; the guns and 
instruments of war of Karaburun will be put out 
of working order by the Turkish Army and handed 
over to the Greek forces. 

Article 8. The contents of Article i will be 
executed within 2 days (two days) from Saturday, 
27th October, 191 2 ; this delay may be still further 
extended with the consent of the Commandant- 
General of the Greek Army. 

Article 10, The gendarmes and the Turkish 
police will continue their service until further 
notice. 

Hassan Tahsin, 

The Co7nmandant-in-Ckief 

of the Ottoman Army. 

Dousmani, 
Jean P. Metaxes, 
The Delegates of 
H.R.H the Prince Royal of Greece. 



CAPITULATION OF SALONIKA 137 

Rider to Protocol, 2']th October, 191 2 

Article i. Two battalions of the Greek Army 
will enter the town this afternoon and will be 
quartered in the infantry barracks. 

Article 2. The food of the Turkish soldiers and 
that of the horses and beasts of burden will be 
supplied with the co-operation of the Corporation 
by the local Greek authorities. The costs in- 
volved thereby will be borne by the Greek Govern- 
ment. The supply of the food will be begun as 
soon as a formal demand to the effect will have 
been made. 

Article 3. Three thousand Turkish soldiers will 
be left with their arms to effect the disarming of 
the others. Once these have been disarmed they 
will themselves lay down their own arms ; the 
clearing of the arms laid down will be undertaken 
by the Greek troops ; the disarming will take place 
in the presence of two delegates of the Greek 
Army. 

Article 4. The Commandant of the Greek Army 
will give strict orders so that all the villagers, the 
disarmed soldiers, their proprietors, their property 
are not attacked by any bands, and are respected 
by the allied troops. 

Article 5. Strict orders shall be given to take 
great care to respect the traditions, the customs 
and the religions of the inhabitants ; the religious 
tribunals of all religions will continue to perform 
their duties. 

Article 6. The service of the Customs may 



188 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

continue to act until further notice, under the 
control of the Greek authorities. Likewise for the 
Regie and the Public Debt. 

Hassan Tahsin, 

The Comniandant-in-Chief 

of the Turkish Army. 

DOUSMANI, 

Jean P. Metaxes, 
The Delegates of 
H .R.H . the Prince Royal of Greece, 
Salonika, lyth October, 191 2. 



CHAPTER XIV 

SALONIKA AFTER THE CAPITULATION 

With the entry of King George of Greece on nth 
November, another chapter was opened in the history 
of the Macedonian capital. It was an event of vast 
political, historical and sentimental importance. But 
few of the onlookers remembered they were cele- 
brating a victory over the Turks. The thoughts 
uppermost in their minds were that once again the 
Greeks were masters of Salonika, that a long exile 
was ended and that a dream had been realised. The 
imagination of the King, too, must have been fired 
as he entered, conqueror, into this town where 
ancient walls and churches tell of Byzantines, 
triumphal arches stir up memories of the Roman 
conquest, and the round, white, circular tower on the 
sea front speaks of the Venetians. The Turks have 
left us few landmarks save a wanton destruction of 
the old city walls and an attempt to smother up, by 
continual applications of whitewash, the beautiful 
mosaics of the Byzantine churches which they had 
converted into mosques. 

The previous day had seen memorable sights. I 
found the road out to the marshes, which lie to 
the west of the town, alive with Greek enthusiasts 

189 



140 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

en route to greet the victors. Here, as I gazed 
upon the camp of the 7th Division under General 
Cleomenis (the men who have been opposed to us 
at Kirdjalar), and saw the Creusot artillery lined 
up along a road flanked on either side with V-shaped 
khaki tents almost indistinguishable among the 
rushes, the Greek army made a good first impres- 
sion. The men were in excellent condition, happy 
and bright, as befits conquerors, well clothed, booted 
and equipped, and ate ravenously of the raw cabbages 
they had plucked from the vegetable gardens which 
dot this district of the town. Amidst the everlasting 
brown of the khaki clothes and the Sneider guns of 
the army, the sun-baked grass of the fields and the 
muddy tracks which serve for roads, the landscape 
was gladdened only by the thousands of red fezes 
which denoted the Ottoman nationality of the 
majority of the visitors. 

A comparison of this picture with that of the weary, 
demoralised and undisciplined Turkish troops, tent- 
less and starving, within sight of Salonika, went far 
to explain why the Greeks had been able to reach 
their goal in a hop, skip and a jump. The order 
was excellent. I followed a regiment along the 
road and watched them bivouac in Beshtchinar 
Gardens. They entered the gates, split to left and 
right in companies, piled arms, sat down, unpacked 
their dinner and commenced to eat, all in perfect 
order, without even a word of command. 

It was well into the afternoon ere a detachment 
of cavalry led the Evzones through Salonika's streets 
and gave the Greek population of the Macedonian 
capital their opportunity to " demonstrate." The 



AFTER THE CAPITULATION 141 

occasion was well seized. The " Star and Crescent " 
had disappeared as if by magic, and in its place flew 
the blue-and-white flag of Greece ; fair damsels 
showered roses upon the warriors until they marched 
over a flower-carpeted street, and crying " Zeto ! " 
" Zeto ! " the crowd pressed upon the khaki army 
until the men had to fight their way in single file. 
Thus commenced, the enthusiasm grew. 

Like most continental towns, Salonika lives in its 
cafes, and it was to the cafes that the exultant mob 
repaired. It needed but the introduction of a Greek 
uniform into one of these spacious refreshment halls 
for the assembly to rise to its feet and shout itself 
hoarse. 1 was fortunate in being present in one of 
these establishments when Matzoukas, the Athenian 
street poet, who had cheered the soldiery with 
Hellenic rhyme throughout the campaign, was 
caught, set upon a marble-topped table and put to 
work. What Matzoukas failed to do in verse, 
subsequent speakers effected by more prosaic but 
none the less fervent oratory, and then the " maffe- 
king " began. Ottoman Greeks, till now condemned 
to wear the hated fez, pour des raisons politiques, 
tore them from their heads and shred them to 
ribbons. Other Ottomans, mostly Jews, who still 
retained this mark of Moslem rule, saw their head- 
gear summarily disappear, to be returned to them in 
rags; and horse-play, often of a regrettable nature, 
was freely indulged in. 

It was as though a victorious Hellenic army was 
returning to its native Athens from a successful 
campaign abroad. It seemed incomprehensible that 
a Turkish defeat could thus be celebrated in a 



142 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Turkish town. In effect, it was more than a cele- 
bration of martial victory ; it was the deliverance of 
the Greek population from the bondage of Turkish 
rule. It was only now that Georgio had been able 
to burn his fez ; only now that this Greek cafe-keeper 
had been permitted to snatch down the red-and- 
white flags that had hitherto adorned his tavern, and 
hoist in their place his own white-and-blue emblem ; 
only now that the Greek Ottoman had dared to 
proclaim from the house-top his hatred of the Turk 
and all his works. It was a strange, wonderful sight 
that one can see only in Macedonia, because there 
is but one Macedonia. 

In comparison with all that had passed, the 
King's entry, in company with the royal princes and 
the Princess Alice (who worked heroically with the 
Greek Red Cross throughout the campaign) was 
tame. Several reasons combined to rob the roval 
progress of its splendour. The drenching rain was 
sufficient to damp the most ardent patriotism, and 
the enthusiasm of the preceding thirty-six hours had 
burned itself out. Apart from this, the show was 
very badly stage-managed. There was an entire 
absence of martial display, bands and banners were 
conspicuous by their absence, and it seemed to mc 
that a great opportunity to fittingly impress the 
Oriental mind was thrown away. Albeit the King 
and his sons were affectionately w^elcomed. Even 
the Bulgarians, who after days of forced marches 
and a night previously spent with mud for a bed and 
rain for a cover, managed things better. At least 
they had a band — dirty and weather-worn though it 
^vas — and a torn banner to add a touch of military 



AFTER THE CAPITULATION 148 

colour to the proceedings, and as the young princes, 
Boris and Cyril, followed a detachment of business- 
like cavalry, and led in three regiments of muddied 
soldiers, one felt that victorious troops had really 
arrived. On the day's showing, the Bulgars had the 
best of it. 

In the days that followed there was much to 
interest the passer-by. The martial music on the 
water-side, very creditably rendered by a Greek 
regimental band, the soldierly bearing and funereal 
uniforms of the Cretan gendarmery, the usually filthy 
condition of the streets, the tolerably clean Govern- 
ment Konak, the rush of miHtary motor-cars, the 
International fleet, the tramcars crowded with 
soldiers until no room was left for civilian passen- 
gers, the coming and going of masses of khaki-clad 
troops, the blazing off of the guns of the battleships 
until one knew not whether one was in the centre 
of a pyrotechnic display or a pitched battle — all added 
new zest even to the varied excitement to which the 
i^gean town had grown accustomed. Of the many 
strange sights, I saw none more curious than a band 
of Greek " komitadjis,'' headed by a priest holding 
aloft a cross, leading in a body of Turkish gendarmes 
whom they had captured in the Chalkis Peninsula. 
So had the tables been turned. 

The streets were full, the cafes crowded ; every- 
body was apparently happy, and it was only when 
one strolled around the shuttered market-place, 
visited the camps of starving refugees, or climbed 
the hill to the military hospitals, that one realised 
that all was not well in Macedonia, and that the 
reverse of this medal of gaudy uniforms and ani- 



144 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

mated street scenes was poverty and wretchedness 
and suffering. 

The occupation of a city of over 150,000 inhabi- 
tants, even under the most favourable conditions, 
is admittedly a task calculated to test the organising- 
capacity of the most experienced of General Staffs. 
At Salonika the normal difficulties were increased 
tenfold. The Greeks found themselves preoccupied 
with the serious complications presented by the dis- 
concerting behaviour of the Bulgarians. They had 
become the unwilling hosts of ten instead of two 
battalions of the allied troops ; several public build- 
ings and one of the largest mosques had been com- 
mandeered by the Bulgars ; General Theodoroff had 
hastened to inform his King and the whole world 
that the Bulgarians had conquered the town ; and 
the normal population of Salonika had been sub- 
jected to a sudden increase by the addition of some 
80,000 soldiers, 40,000 refugees and 25,000 prisoners 
of war. Moreover, Sandansky's " komitadjis " had 
entered the citadel, and while the Greek staff must 
have recognised that they were entertaining visitors 
who were not famous for their respect of the rights 
of man or beast, they found their allies disinclined to 
accept the measures they had framed for the preser- 
vation of public security. 

There was consequently more disorder than was 
agreeable, and it was regrettable that the conduct 
of some of the more indiscipHned elements of the 
Greek army, ably assisted by lower-class native 
Greeks, was highly reprehensible. The Bulgarians, 
defying the Greek military patrols, gave themselves 
up to loot and pillage, and even worse offences, 



AFTER THE CAPITULATION 145 

diplomatically choosing the higher and less public 
quarters of the town for their operations ; but fortu- 
nately they refrained from a repetition of the bloody 
savagery of which they had been guilty during 
their march to Salonika. The excitement, however, 
speedily quietened down, and there was soon little 
to complain of save the inevitable inconveniences 
resulting from the abnormal situation brought about 
by the dual occupation and the doubling of the 
population of the city. 

For some time considerable bad feeling was mani- 
fested betv/een the Greeks and the Jews. The 
Israelites, who form the bulk of the population of 
Salonika, were naturally, for sentimental and com- 
mercial reasons, displeased with the Greek occupa- 
tion, and the Hellenic Press, unable in its ecstasy 
to appreciate any sentiments other than its own, 
inaugurated a campaign of anti-Semitism. This 
little inter-racial quarrel had its origin in the some- 
what lukewarm reception accorded to King George 
by the Jews. The Chief Rabbi put the Jewish case 
to me clearly and frankly when he explained that his 
people were Ottoman citizens, felt the keenness of 
the Turkish defeats as such, and it was but natural 
that they should appear more mournful than jubilant. 
The Hellenes, on their part, insisted that the Jews 
should at least have hung out a few Greek flags as 
a sign of recognition of the conquest, if not of actual 
welcome. Like so many things, it all depends upon 
one's point of view. However, with the appoint- 
ment of a Greco-Jewish Committee for the promotion 
of harmony between the two elements, the cloud of 
bitterness was soon dispersed and happier relations 

K 



146 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

were quickly established. The rapprochement was, 
moreover, materially assisted by the arrival of details 
of the misdeeds committed by the Bulgarian forces 
en route to Salonika. The Jews began a compari- 
son of their lot with that of the populations con- 
quered by the Bulgars, and their well-known sense 
of proportion did not fail to make them very con- 
tented with the fate which had befallen them. 

Among the European residents at Salonika the 
belief was almost universally held that the task of 
administering the cosmopolitan i^gean seaport would 
prove too difficult for the Greeks, and it must be 
accounted them a triumph as noteworthy as their 
martial victories, that they quickly belied this hastily 
drawn conclusion. 

It is my desire, in writing this story, to as far 
as possible avoid either favourable or unfavourable 
criticism of individuals, but I cannot refrain from 
special mention of the small band of officials who 
did so much to evolve order out of chaos, and 
who, in the doing, earned the gratitude of all and 
sundry. 

Salonika will, I venture to assert, ever cherish the 
happy initiative which led the Duke of Sparta to 
appoint his brother, H.R.H. Prince Nicholas, to the 
post of Military Governor. It will be my duty, in 
a subsequent chapter, to treat of the masterly ability 
with which the Prince dealt with the difficult situa- 
tions created for him by the Bulgarians, and it will 
suffice here to record that the kindness and con- 
sideration which H.R.H. meted out to those who 
were thrown into contact with him, and the imparti- 
ality with which he decided the many vexed inter- 



AFTER THE CAPITULATION 147 

racial questions with which he was continually 
confronted, endeared him to all and sundry. 

As Governor-General, Mr Ractivan, the Greek 
Minister of Justice, allowed neither friendship nor 
prejudice to influence his rulings. Perhaps, in view 
of the peculiar circumstances of the hour, he was 
lacking in elasticity, and there were times when I 
think he might well have tempered law with 
diplomacy, but none were able to complain of unjust 
treatment. The efforts of the Civil Governor were 
ably seconded by his Secretary-General, Mr Tsor- 
batzoglou. Here was surely the right man in the 
right place. An experienced Consul-General with 
years of experience in Turkish territory behind him, 
he spoke the language and sympathised with the 
mentality and customs of the conquered people, and 
was well versed in the privileged treatment to which 
the Consuls of the Great Powers are accustomed in 
Ottoman territory. Suave, coiilant and considerate, 
he earned golden opinions. 

It was, however, on the shoulders of the newly 
appointed Prefect, Mr Argyropoulos, that the burden 
of administering the town itself fell, and, working in 
close sympathy with Prince Nicholas, he handled the 
many thorny problems with which his office was beset 
with consummate skill. He showed himself able to 
appreciate "the point of view of the other fellow," 
and Turks and Jews were assured of a sympathetic 
hearing to their complaints, and a speedy righting 
of any wrongs. True, he never lost sight of the 
fact that he had been called upon to preside over an 
alien population, or forgot that hostile plots were 
likely to be hatched under his very nose. Thus 



148 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

when Hassan Tahsin Pacha's officers, in defiance of 
the terms of the protocol of capitulation, associated 
themselves with the Young Turkish intrigues of the 
ubiquitous Dr Nazim Bey (then in charge of the Red 
Crescent Hospital) the Prefect played his part in 
the evolution of a scheme, as a result of which some 
five hundred of these troublesome spirits, including 
the Doctor himself, were suddenly captured in street, 
house or tramcar, and hustled aboard a waiting 
transport. 

To the unravelHng of the Macedonian financial 
tangle, with its maze of responsibilities towards 
European interests, Mr Venezelos sent Mr Cofinas, 
and it was doubtless largely upon the intelligent 
advice of that able functionary that the privileges 
enjoyed by the Deite Publique and the Tobacco 
Regie were observed, the customs tariff of Turkish 
days maintained and the existing currency recog- 
nised. Mr Cofinas likewise inaugurated the system 
of a Free Customs " Zone," which is likely to remain 
a feature of commercial activity in Salonika. 

It would, I think, have been impossible for the 
Greek Government to have selected personalities 
more fitted to carry the tremendous task imposed 
upon them to a successful conclusion, and to the 
sagacity of this choice must be attributed the exceed- 
ingly favourable opinion of Greek administration, 
which was impressed upon all but the most bigoted 
of individuals during those difficult months which 
followed the entry of the Hellenic army. 



CHAPTER XV 

FROM USKUB TO MONASTIR 

The reader will remember that after the Turkish 
rout at Koumanovo and Uskub, the remnants of 
the Ottoman forces retreated to Kuprili (Veles). 
The Serbs halted a while at Uskub for the twofold 
purpose of giving the troops a Httle necessary repose 
and repairing the breaches in their own armour. 
The Ottoman General Staff remained installed at 
Salonika, and it was generally understood that the 
next resistance would be offered at Kuprili, an 
exceedingly strong and easily fortified position, and 
one which not only commands the descent by the 
railway and Vardar Valley to Salonika, but would 
be exceedingly difficult to outflank. 

What idea the Turks had in mind when they 
decided to evacuate this excellent strategic position, 
retire to a comparative cul-de-sac such as is Monastir, 
and leave Salonika to the mercy of their enemy, I 
have not yet been able to understand, the more par- 
ticularly as they were at this time under the impres- 
sion that the forces they had dispatched south from 
Sorovitch would succeed in catching the Greek army 
in the rear. Had Zeki Pacha's troops been main- 
tained at Kuprili they could have been retired at any 
time for the defence of Salonika, and had the entire 

149 



150 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Ottoman army concentrated at Monastir been sent 
south against the Greeks, they would have stood a 
greater chance of success than was rendered prob- 
able by the tactics actually adopted. The capture 
of Monastir would have availed the Servians little 
had the Turks been able to re-establish their military 
position, while Salonika could undoubtedly have been 
defended for a considerable time by the combined 
efforts of the armies of Zeki Pacha and Hassan 
Tahsin Pacha. 

My surprise may, therefore, well be imagined 
when, on 28th October, I arrived at the Turkish 
headquarters, only to be informed by the sentry that 
the building was empty. He had strict orders to 
give no information, but, " as an old friend," he 
whispered the astounding news that the staff had 
left at 4.30 o'clock that same morning for Monastir. 
It was, then, farther north that the last scene of the 
Macedonia drama was to be played, and Salonika 
was left to the mercy of the first comer. I subse- 
quently learned that Kuprili, the base of the great 
Vardar army, had been evacuated. Twenty-five 
thousand of the mixed crowd of Nizams (regular 
troops) and Bashibazooks, concentrated there after 
Uskub, had been sent to Kalkandelen under Fethi 
Pacha, and the rest, commanded by Kara Said 
Pacha, had left for Monastir, via Prilip. 

When the Servian army marched south to Kuprili, 
they found the town already evacuated. News was 
received that the Turks were flying, via Prilip, to 
Monastir, having left a strong rearguard in position 
on the heights of the Babouna Mountains, in order 
to retard the progress of their enemy. On ist Novem- 




PASHITCH. 

As a yoiing student, M. Pasliitcli inclined towards S(x;ialism, and saw in tlie 
"Zadrnga," or Servian peasant comnninit.y. a ready-made "terrain" for the 
aijplication of liis doctiines. Pervia has partly grown nut of the "Zadrnga" 
and Pashitch entirely out of Socialism. To-day he is one of the cleverest 
diplomats in Euro] )e and an enormous asset to his country. He has l)een aptly 
called " The (Jrand Old Man of Servia'." 



FROM USKUB TO MONASTIR 151 

ber, therefore, the Serbs set out for PriHp, one of 
the most famous towns in old Servian history. They 
had at their disposition the excellent military road 
which, running at first over open, monotonous 
country, at length, ever rising, enters the narrow 
gorge between the well-wooded mountain ranges 
amidst a wealth of magnificent and savage grandeur. 

Half-way to Prilip is situated a dirty, dilapidated 
han which, once the hunting-box of a wealthy 
Turkish lord, now serves as a resting-place for weary 
travellers and tired horses. From Abdi Pacha's 
chiflik, as the han is still called, the road winds 
upward through the pass until it at length reaches 
the top of the range ; after which the country falls 
away down to Prilip and the Plain of Monastir. 

It was upon this range, which commands the road 
over the whole of its winding ascent from Abdi 
Pacha's chiflik, that the Turks had prepared their 
defence. It impresses the traveller as one of those 
naturally impregnable positions designed by nature 
with the object of permitting a beaten army to pull 
itself together, and I am still unable to quite realise 
how the Serbs were able to storm the precipitous and 
entrenched heights from which the Osmanli sought 
to stay their advance, the more especially as the 
assault was carried out in broad daylight, and not, 
as one would have imagined more practical, by a 
night attack. One's first idea is that a battalion or 
two of boy scouts with a few maxims could have kept 
an army at bay. 

To the left, the Turks held a mountain summit 
1458 metres high; their centre and right covered 
a string of positions stretching from summit 1458 



152 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

to summit 1534, the latter being turned slightly to 
the south-west to oppose any turning movement by 
the Servian flank. Additional opposition to such 
strategy was provided farther to the south, on the 
summit of Kojan, from whence the road from 
Gradsko could be commanded. Upon all these 
heights they had placed field and mountain batteries. 
In advance of their main Hne of defence the Otto- 
mans had fortified a commanding hill 1200 metres 
high. Their entire position was exceedingly strong, 
trenches and stone walls having been constructed in 
order to complete the work of nature. 

The attack on the Pass of Prilip, or, as it is some- 
times called, Prissat, was entrusted to the Servian 
Morava division — which was split up into three 
columns for the purpose. Two regiments left the 
main road and advanced along the crests of the hills 
to the west, with the intention of attacking the left 
flank of the Turks entrenched upon summit 1200; 
one regiment, short a battalion, w^as ordered to pro- 
ceed over the crests to the east of the main road and 
march, via Nikodin, against the right of the enemy's 
main line ; the central column, consisting of one 
regiment, with one battery of horse artillery in its rear, 
kept to the main road, and had for its primary object 
a frontal attack on the summit 1200; the cavalry 
division, with one battalion of infantry, and the 
unique mountain battery belonging to the Morava 
division, formed the extreme left of the Servian 
advance, and was destined to outflank the entire 
Turkish position. 

Owing to the mountainous nature of the country, 
and the winding roads, the Servian field artillery 



FROM USKUB TO MONASTIR 158 

was useless ; their mountain battery had, as we have 
already noted, been attached to the cavalry division. 
The infantry were, therefore, called upon to make 
an unaided attack on the fortified Turkish positions. 

As the Servian centre swung round the bend in 
the road, they came within short range of practically 
the whole of the Ottoman artillery and infantry. 
Seeking whatever cover they found available, the 
Slavs kept up a sustained rifle fire on the Turkish 
position on height 1200 throughout the day (3rd 
November), but at night had made no progress, 
despite heavy losses. The same day the left column 
suffered enormous casualties before Nikodin. 

The following day (4th November) a second 
Servian division (Drina) joined in the fight. Com- 
ing from Kuprili, one column of two regiments 
crossed the hills between the main road and the left 
wing of the Morava division. A further column of 
two regiments made a detour to the extreme right 
of the Servian lines. Thus reinforced, the Serbs 
attacked the Turks on 1200 with great violence, the 
infantry being now aided by the battery of horse 
artillery, which had taken up a position on the main 
road. At last the order went forth to storm the 
mountain, and the Servians rushed up the steep 
slopes (which took me nearly an hour to climb), 
taking the successive lines of opposing trenches 
at the point of the bayonet, under a veritable hail 
of bullets from the Turkish rifles and maxims. 
Cover was scarce — almost non-existent — and the 
men had to chmb like goats. They succeeded in 
driving out the enemy, however, and once in pos- 
session of this commanding position, were able to 



154 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

turn their own fire against the rest of the Turkish 
lines. These were subsequently captured after a 
tremendous effort, and Kara Said Pacha retired his 
troops to the heights of Kosjak, from whence he 
commanded the descent into the Plain of Prilip. 
Night had now fallen, and the armies guarded their 
positions until the next morning, when the Turks, 
after a final effort to recapture the lost vantage points, 
and finding their retreat now threatened from the 
east, retired south of Prilip. 

The battle of Prilip cannot, of course, be com- 
pared in importance to those of Koumanovo and 
Monastir, but it was a fight of a most desperate 
nature, and effectively demonstrated the superb 
excellence of the Servian infantry. One after the 
other, the strongly defended and almost impregnable 
positions had been taken at the point of the bayonet, 
and it is little wonder that the casualties of the 
victors totalled nearly 2000 killed and wounded. 

The Servian peasant is a simple ideahst, steeped 
in tradition and superstition. I well remember dis- 
cussing the battle of Koumanovo with a school- 
master who served his country as a private soldier. 

" What gave you," I asked him, " such tremendous 
elan after the severe gruelling you received during 
the first day's fight } " 

'* Well," he replied quietly, " during the combat 
we all saw St Sava, robed in white, and seated in 
a white chariot drawn by white horses, leading us 
on to victory." 

A strange story to hear from the mouth of a war- 
rior — and an educated man to boot — in the twentieth 
century, and yet he was firmly convinced of its 



FROM USKUB TO MONASTIR 155 

actuality. At Prilip there was another spirit work- 
ing in the Servian imagination, and it was perhaps the 
legend of Marko Kralievitch which, more than any- 
thing else, rendered possible the heroic deeds which 
marked the combat. Any Serb will tell you the 
story of his national hero, Marko Krahevitch. He 
was born at Prilip, and died in 1394. According to 
the legend, the hero and his horse, Charatz, are 
still living in a near-by cave. There, Marko, hav- 
ing buried his sword in the vault, lay down and 
sleeps. Charatz nibbles at the moss before him, 
while little by little the sword is edging out of the 
stone. And when Charatz shall have finished eat- 
ing the moss, and the sword shall have fallen to 
earth, Marko will awaken and reappear in the 
world. He has declared, so goes the story: "In 
a marvellous grotto in the mountains I await the 
hour when I shall again take up my sword and 
mount my Charatz, in order to reassemble all the 
Serbs 'neath my banner, and, at their head, I shall 
rush upon the Turks, crying, " Forward, my 
brothers! in the name of our motherland and the 
cross, exterminate the enemy." 

There, hard by the Pass of Prilip, in the shadow 
of the black, forbidding mountains, is the legendary 
tomb of Marko Kralievitch, and, talk to who you 
will of the wonderful sacrifice of the Servian soldiers, 
they will assure you that in those self-same shadows 
they saw Marko, astride his Charatz, leading them 
on to victory. These stories of Servian mysti- 
cism, like the tales of fanatical patriotism which 
illuminated the Hellenic campaign during the second 
war, sound strange to Western ears, but they are 



156 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

workers of victory perhaps more potent than modern 
shrapnel. 

The Servians entered (re-entered perhaps one 
should say) Prilip with bands playing and colours 
flying. There is little enough to see now. Low 
white-washed shacks, narrow cobbled streets, 
trellised windows and high-walled gardens — the 
usual features of Turkish occupation. But the men 
made merry, as do victors ; when suddenly, from 
the hills of Bakarno-Gouvno to the south, came the 
thunder of Turkish cannon. The Serbs had been 
caught napping. There was a momentary panic, 
and transport trains began to retire northward ; but 
the General rallied his men, and deploying one 
regiment on each side of the main road, set out to 
the attack. There, on the shelterless plain, they 
offered an ideal target to their enemy. But soon 
the Servians batteries unmasked to cover the advance 
of their infantry, and then, full of the confidence 
born of victory, the peasant soldiers rushed at the 
Ottoman trenches, and drove the Osmanli en route 
for Monastir. There was again a heavy toll of killed 
and wounded, but the capture of Prilip had been 
definitely accomplished, and the Turks were thrown 
back upon their last stand at Monastir. Kara Said 
Pacha had indeed stayed the Servian advance, 
but at a cost of innumerable lives and nearly sixty 
cannon. 

The Battle of Monastir. — The subsequent 
insignificant rearguard actions fought by Kara Said 
Pacha, in order to cover his retreat, concern us but 
little. He had himself no other object than to 
arrive at Monastir as quickly as possible, there to 



FROM USKUB TO MONASTIR 157 

unite with the forces of Djavid Pacha. The Serbs 
waited again at Prilip, and thus facilitated his pro- 
gramme. Whether they could have advanced more 
quickly is questionable in view of the terrible con- 
dition of the roads, and the fact that incessant rain 
had caused the rivers which water the plain to over- 
flow their banks, and set up a watery barrier to 
the Servian descent. While the Turks had been 
delaying the advance of their foe to the east, Fethi 
Pacha had descended, via Kalkandelen and Kru- 
chevo, to Monastir, and the Turks had, therefore, 
a goodly force of troops and generals with which to 
defend their last remaining stronghold in Macedonia. 

Had Monastir been a position of any strategic 
value to the Turks at this time, had there been 
any hope that a prolonged resistance at this central 
Macedonian fortress could have in any way affected 
the course of military history in the peninsula, its 
choice by the Turks for their last stand would have 
been highly logical and indeed praiseworthy. The 
situation as it unrolled itself after the battle of Prilip, 
however, but confirmed the criticism I outlined at 
the commencement of this chapter. With the Servians 
enveloping the town from the north, and the 
Greeks advancing from the south-east, the only 
way of escape was along the western road which led 
to Ochrida, and thence to the Albanian Mountains. 

Monastir, in peace time, was the garrison of the 
VI Army Corps, and it played an important role 
in the military, commercial, and political history of 
Macedonia. Its 40,000 inhabitants, of whom Turks 
and Greeks were in great majority, pHed a profitable 
trade with Albania. Situated at the foot of an 



158 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

amphitheatre of glorious, snow-clad mountains, it 
resembles, in aspect, a big, overgrown village. As 
a citadel it offers great advantages to a defending 
army. Its covering mountains effectually guarantee 
it from attack from the south-west, while on the 
north and west Nature has provided many vantage 
points of great strength. The approaches from the 
east lie over the great, well-cultivated, and well- 
watered plain, whereon man or beast can with diffi- 
culty find leafy protection from the summer sun ; 
it is entirely bereft of cover for an advancing army. 

When, on 13th November, ten days after the 
battle of Prilip, the Servians eventually moved off 
against Monastir, they found that Nature had set up 
yet another barrier to their progress. Snow and 
rain, which had fallen in abundance, had rendered 
the single road almost unfit for transport. It had, 
further, caused the Tserna River and its tributaries 
to overflow their banks, with the result that the plain 
had been turned into an immense lake. The tre- 
mendous obstacles which confronted the Servians 
on their march to Monastir will, therefore, be easily 
imagined. 

Movinsf forward their divisions, now increased bv 
the Morava (II) which had descended via Kruchevo, 
where it had a serious tussle with Fethi Pacha's 
retreating Turks, they drew an immense semi-circle 
around the Ottoman positions from east to west. 
The intention of the General Staff was to gradually 
draw in upon Monastir, special stress being laid 
upon the necessity of cutting off the Turkish retreat 
towards Fiorina to the south-east, and towards 
Ochrida to the west. 



FROM USKUB TO MONASTIR 15§ 

The Turks had confided the principal northern 
and western defences to the intrepid Djavid Pacha, 
who had placed cannon and entrenched his men on 
the commanding heights. Fethi Pacha's nonde- 
scripts held the hills just to the north of the town, 
from whence he commanded the approaches from the 
plain, while Kara Said Pacha was detailed off to 
repulse any attack coming from the west along the 
short road leading from the township of Novak. 

Particularly in view of the inundation of the 
plain and the Greek advance on Fiorina, the obvious 
strategy for the Servians would seem to have lain 
in a determined attempt to break the Turkish resist- 
ance on the west, and cut the line of retreat to 
Ochrida. As a matter of fact, the Servian right 
was comparatively weak, and the staff planned 
the chief attack along the main road from Prihp. 
This decision appears to have been dictated by the 
mountainous nature of the country around Oblakovo. 
The Servian army was notoriously weak in mountain 
cannon, and the employment of field guns being 
out of the question, any concerted operation by 
infantry and artillery was accordingly impossible. 
Consequently, the principal offensive was directed 
against the Turkish positions due north of Monastir, 
where the heavy artillery, placed on the road, could 
render the desired assistance. 

On 1 6th November the Serbs drove in the Turkish 
outposts, and the Morava (I) division, having seized 
the height 1200 between Lisolaj and Beranci, by a 
superhuman effort succeeded in placing a battery of 
horse artillery on the southern slopes of the mountain. 
To accompHsh this it was necessary to dismount the 



160 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

guns from their carriages and drag them over bridle 
paths. Then occurred a development which frus- 
trated the plans of the General Staff, for the Servian 
right, having crossed the Semnitza River, and hav- 
ing engaged the Turks at Oblakovo, found itself the 
object of a sustained counter attack, and obliged 
to demand reinforcements. Oblakovo then became 
the chief objective. Two regiments sent to the aid 
of the threatened right wing spent the whole day of 
17th November traversing the overflown Semnitza, 
under the combined fire of the Turkish artillery 
and infantry. So swift was the current that the 
troops were obliged to form a human chain in order 
to avoid being swept away by the rushing waters. 
Towards midnight the regiments halted, and 
entrenched themselves in preparation for the attack 
of the morrow. 

By day and night (17th and i8th November) 
Djavid Pacha, who realised the necessity of driving 
back the Servian right in order to preserve his way 
of retreat along the western road, delivered a series 
of counter attacks, which were heroically sustained 
by the Servians, numerically inferior, and practically 
without cannon. Thirteen times, I was informed, 
were the Turks repulsed, but so great was the ex- 
haustion in the ranks of the Slavs that it is admitted 
in some quarters that had the Ottoman General been 
able to make but a fourteenth onslaught he would 
have accomplished his object. So persistent had 
been the coming and going of attack and defence 
that the opposing forces often occupied trenches but 
ten to fifteen yards distant the one from the other. 
On many occasions, moreover, the adversaries 



FROM USKUB TO MONASTIR 161 

actually fought corps-a-corps. Eventually, on 
igth November, the Servians succeeded in obtain- 
ing possession of the heights of Oblakovo, where, 
utterly fatigued, they rested. From their positions 
they were, however, able to threaten the road to 
Ochrida. 

While this fierce combat had been going on, amid 
execrable climatic conditions, on the western side, 
the remaining Servian forces had been slowly closing 
in on Monastir from the north-east. Before the 
Danube division lay the dire task of fording the lake 
formed by the flooded Tserna River. For a distance 
of a mile and a half the men were obliged to wade, 
often waist deep, through the water. Before them, 
all the time, lay a precious bridge, but swept as it 
was by the fire of the Turkish machine guns, the 
choice lay between Scylla and Charibdis. So the 
troops, under a hail of bullets and shrapnel, entered 
the icy torrent and, holding hands to prevent their 
being swept away, moved slowly forward. Every 
man who loosed his hold, or who was struck by 
shot or shell, was inevitably claimed by the rushing 
torrent. Only one in three was able to fire ; and 
yet these brave peasants not only succeeded in 
crossing, but having done so, fixed their bayonets 
and carried out the assault against the Turkish 
battery which had rained the leaden hail upon them. 
" The finest infantry in Europe," said the attache 
of a great European Power to me, as he dwelt on 
this deed of wonderful endurance and valour, which 
surely deserves to be writ large in the military his- 
tory of the Balkan wars. 

It was on 1 8th November that the Danube 

L 



162 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

division got to close quarters with the eastern 
defences of Monastir, and the Turks, appreciating 
the hopelessness of further resistance, moved west- 
ward. Djavid Pacha, as we have already recorded, 
had succeeded in keeping the line of retreat more 
or less free until this date, and, aided by a thick 
fog, the bulk of the Ottoman army escaped into 
Albania. They left, however, 10,000 prisoners, 
scores of cannon, and an enormous quantity of stores 
to their victors. 

With the capture of Monastir the Servian cam- 
paign in Macedonia was brought to its close. Djavid 
Pacha, together with Ali Riza Pacha, my good 
friends Zeki Pacha, Sulieman Faik Pacha, Kara 
Said Pacha, and the remains of the great Turkish 
army, passed the winter in Albania till, after the 
conclusion of peace, all were transported by sea 
from the Adriatic coast to Constantinople. 



CHAPTER XVI 

DEFEAT AND VICTORY 

The battle of Yenidje-Vardar, while it ensured for 
the Greeks the possession of Salonika, had not seen 
the completion of their military task in Macedonia. 
They had yet to do their part in the general sweep- 
ing up of the conquered territory, and, although 
the events which thereby transpired are technically 
interesting, their political importance was not always 
great, and a mere outline of the operations will 
suffice for the purposes of our story. 

When, following the occupation of Servia, the 
Duke of Sparta dispatched his weak V Division 
along the road to Kozhani in order to protect the left 
flank of his advance on Verria, he did not anticipate 
that the divisional Commander would blunder into a 
superior force of Ottoman troops. It is difficult to 
imagine that a solitary division would have been 
sent into a country, ethnologically Turkish, with 
any other instructions than to keep in touch with the 
main army, and act strictly as a flank guard. The 
strategical necessity was that the troops marching 
on Verria and Yenidje-Vardar should be protected 
against the possibility of attack by a Turkish force 
advancing either along the railway or main road from 
Monastir. That object would apparently have been 

168 



164 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

served had the V Division soHdly occupied the Pass 
of Kih Derbend, north of Sorovitch, where rail and 
road meet, and from whence retreat to Kozhani would 
have been easy had scouts at any time announced 
the presence of a superior hostile force. The ad- 
vance of the Hellenes still farther north was the 
result of an ill-starred initiative, which would seem 
to have had its origin in a desire on somebody's part 
to rush north to Monastir and bring off a coup de 
guerre. 

Colonel Mathiopoulos reached Sorovitch with the 
V Division on 31st October, to find his troops worn 
out by their fatiguing march, and his ranks depleted 
by the necessity of maintaining a strong line of com- 
munication through a hostile country. He, never- 
theless, pushed on beyond the Kili Derbend Pass 
to Banitza, which he occupied on ist November. 

There is little doubt that Djavid Pacha, who on 
27th October had been ordered to Sorovitch to 
command the Turkish reserves there concentrated, 
had been carefully planning the downfall of his 
adversary, and he must have deliberately retired in 
order to entice the Greeks northward. During the 
night of the 2nd November Djavid, who had been 
awaiting his prey, suddenly flung his superior force 
upon the V Division, and caused it to retreat in some 
confusion with heavy casualties. Throughout 3rd 
November Mathiopoulos continued his retirement, 
fighting the while a rearguard action, and at night 
took up a position between Sorovitch and Sotir. 
Here lie Greeks held their ground for two days; 
but, during the night of 5th November, they were 
again surprised — it is said that the outposts had 




THE GREEK ARMY — SCOUTING. 




THE GREEK ARMY — AT REST. 



DEFEAT AND VICTORY 165 

fallen asleep from exhaustion — and retired in con- 
fusion with a loss of sixteen guns. The Turks did 
not follow up their victories, and what was left of 
the Greek V Division was, therefore, enabled to 
reconcentrate the following day, and to arrive 
safely at Kozhani on 7th November. This episode 
is said to have cost the Hellenes some 2000 
casualties. All reports go to show that the troops, 
though overpowered, displayed great bravery, and 
the individual courage of the officers was worthy of 
the highest commendation. 

Had the Turks, as I have suggested in a previous 
chapter, withdrawn Zeki Pacha from KupriU to 
Salonika, and sent a strong force south from 
Monastir, the Hellenes would have been placed at 
a disadvantage. I do not consider that the ultimate 
result of the campaign would have been materially 
altered, for the Duke of Sparta was probably aware 
of the Ottoman concentration towards Monastir 
(28th October) before the battle of Yenidje-Vardar 
(ist and 2nd November), but the entry of either of 
the allies in Salonika would thereby have been con- 
siderably delayed, for the Greeks would have been 
obliged to move a large force westward against 
Djavid Pacha, and the Bulgarians would have been 
incapable of ousting Zeki Pacha from Salonika. 

After his successful exploit against General 
Mathiopoulos, Djavid Pacha rushed back to Monas- 
tir to aid in the defence of that town against 
the Servians. He left, however, certain forces in 
this theatre, which moved eastward with the object 
of protecting the Turks against a renewed Greek 
advance on Monastir. Immediately the capitula- 



166 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

tion of Salonika had been assured, the Crown Prince 
ordered about two and a half divisions (III, IV, 
and part of the VI) to entrain for Sorovitch. They 
first encountered their enemy holding strong positions 
in the mountainous region west of Vodena, where 
fierce fighting occurred. The V Division, rein- 
forced by a column of Evzones, was simultaneously 
ordered to advance towards Sorovitch, and though 
the retiring Ottomans fought rearguard actions at 
Kastranitza, on the south, and at Ostrovo and 
Gornitzevo, on the north of Lake Ostrovo, the 
Greek divisions were able to concentrate at Banitza 
on 20th November. The cavalry then advanced 
to Fiorina, where 3000 Turks and a number of 
guns, together with a large quantity of stores, were 
captured. 

The remnants of the Turks found their way back 
to Janina — whence it was at this time anticipated 
that the Greeks would pursue them. It was found, 
however, that the movement of a thoroughly 
equipped army along this snow-covered route was 
impracticable, and the cavalry, having been dis- 
patched to Biklista, the troops were ordered to hold 
the following positions: 

III Division at Kastoria. 
V „ ,, Kozhani. 
VI ,, ,, Fiorina. 

The I Division w^as thereupon dispatched to 
Epirus via Salonika. 

Peace now reigned until 15th December, when 
the Turks delivered a smart attack upon the cavalry 
at Bikhsta, and obliged them to retire back to the 



DEFEAT AND VICTORY 167 

shelter of their supports at Smrdes. A subsequent 
advance of the Hellenes to the much-discussed 
Korytsa proved to be the climax of the Greek Mace- 
donian campaign, and before the end of the year 
the staff felt itself justified in withdrawing the VI 
Division to Salonika. 

With the exception of the unfortunate catastrophe 
which befell the V Division at Sorovitch, the 
operations of the Greek army had been carried out 
with singular success. Like their allies, they were 
numerically superior to their enemy ; but it must 
be admitted that they accomplished their given task 
uncommonly well. 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE BULGARIAN MARCH TO SALONIKA 

The Bulgarian operations against the Turkish army 
in Macedonia furnish a testimony to the magnificent 
physique of King Ferdinand's soldiers. They pro- 
vide little evidence of military prowess, because 
on no occasion, except during the engagement at 
Kotchana, where one column assisted the Servians, 
did they find themselves confronted with any organ- 
ised resistance. In their race to Salonika, however, 
they carried out a series of forced marches under 
the most trying climatic conditions, and if, as I was 
informed by the medical officers, not one man fell 
out on account of any complaint more serious than 
sore feet, that fact alone is a sufficient tribute to 
the strength and endurance of this race of sturdy 
peasantry. So urgent were the orders to reach the 
/Egean seaport with no loss of time that the troops 
were, as far as possible, directed up hill and down 
dale " as the crow flies." Saturated by the inces- 
sant rainfall, they bivouacked in the mud and slush 
by the wayside, with the clouded heavens for their 
only cover, and, since even the convoy had been 
abandoned because it delayed the progress of the 
columns, the famished soldiers seized the cattle 

168 



MARCH TO SALONIKA 169 

which strayed across their path, and slaughtered 
them with pocket-knives. Yet, despite these suffer- 
ings, the details of which were communicated to me 
by Bulgarian officers, the troops arrived in Salonika 
in prime condition. 

The Bulgarian descent was operated by three 
columns. One of them left the Servian second army, to 
which it had been attached, at Kotchana; the other 
two crossed the Rilo Mountains and worked south. 
After the engagement at Kotchana with Kara Said 
Pacha's division, the Bulgarian Colonel commanding 
advised the Servian General that, having received 
information to the effect that a very strong body of 
Turks had concentrated at Radovishte, he proposed to 
attack in force. He therefore requested the Servians 
to delay at Kotchana pending the result of the battle. 
Whether the alleged information had actually been 
received or whether the statement was a mere excuse 
to leave the Servians in order to undertake a march 
on Salonika, it is impossible to say ; but it is signifi- 
cant that after discovering that the reports were un- 
founded the Bulgarians did not return to the assist- 
ance of their allies, as was apparently their duty, but 
continued their advance to the ^^gean. According 
to contemporary Turkish official reports, it appears 
that after an attack by Bulgarian irregulars on 
Radovishte — then defended only by the armed 
Moslem peasantry — the garrison of Strumnitza, con- 
sisting of one Redif battalion, marched north and 
recaptured the village. This battalion was subse- 
quently surrounded by a Bulgarian regular force of 
one regiment of infantry and eleven guns, and 
forthwith destroyed. The Bulgars then advanced on 



170 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

and occupied Strumnitza. Between Strumnitza and 
Salonika there were no Turkish troops. 

It is somewhat more difficult to follow the move- 
ments of the Bulgarian columns descending from the 
north-east, for the country above Serres is largely 
inhabited by Bulgarians, and there was a continual 
interference with the telegraphic communications. 
The Turkish "Struma" army of about 25,000 men 
under Ali Nadir Pacha was originally concentrated 
at Demir Hissar. Almost immediately following the 
outbreak of hostilities the wires from Djumaia, 
Petritch, and Nevrecop were cut, and the Ottoman 
Commander found himself deprived of information 
from his outlying detachments at these points, which, 
it may here be added, consisted almost exclusively 
of territorial battalions. 

On 20th October the Ottoman army was ordered 
to advance on Djumaia, and successfully reached the 
heights commanding the Kresna Pass. The follow- 
ing day a Bulgarian brigade attacked the pass, 
where the Turks offered a stout resistance, and, 
having destroyed the bridge over the river at Krup- 
nik, they succeeded in delaying their enemy for five 
days. Ali Nadir Pacha had apparently anticipated 
that the Bulbars would confine themselves to an 
advance along the main road through the pass, and, 
by reason of the absence of communications, he was 
unaware of the advance of a further hostile column 
over the mountains to Pechevo. When he ultim- 
ately received this information he found himself 
obliged to move the bulk of his forces to the defence 
of that town. As was to have been foreseen, he 
arrived too late, and on 21st October Pechevo was 



MARCH TO SALONIKA 171 

in flames and its inhabitants in terror-stricken flight. 
Thereafter the Turks seem to have made a con- 
siderable advance in the direction of Djumaia without 
any serious fighting until, on 28th October (one week 
after their advance from headquarters), they were 
ordered to descend to Demir Hissar, there to entrain 
for Salonika and reinforce the army of Hassan 
Tahsin Pacha against the Greeks, which they joined 
on 31st October. 

The moral of this section of the Turkish army 
is well illustrated by the fact that upon their arrive al 
at Demir Hissar the Serres Redif division mutinied, 
and, refusing to accompany the army to Salonika, 
marched back to Serres, from whence the Mussul- 
man population telegraphed to the authorities that 
they intended to retain the division for their own 
protection. They were leaning on a broken reed, 
however, for on 2nd November these patriots, 
hearing of the impending approach of the Bulgars, 
fled from the town in panic and returned to their 
individual homes. 

On 6th November, Nadji Pacha, the Commandant 
of Serres, having received information to the effect 
that hostile columns were descending from Djumaia, 
Drama and Zelhova, massed his garrison force of 
2000 bayonets, thirteen guns and one maxim 
company, and, leaving the town to the mercy of 
the invaders, hurriedly withdrew to Ligovan. The 
following day he continued to Salonika and joined 
Hassan Tahsin Pacha, without having put fonvard 
the slightest effort to stay the Bulgarian advance. 

It will be observed, therefore, that throughout the 
duration of the Macedonian campaign these three 



172 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Bulgarian columns took part in nothing more serious 
than a few skirmishes, and that from 28th October 
onwards their march to Salonika was unopposed by 
Turkish troops. They arrived at Salonika twenty- 
four hours after the Greek entry — after, in fact, a 
detachment of Servian cavalry had also ridden m 
from Doiran. 

The complications which then ensued have been 
dealt with at length in previous chapters, and it 
here remains only to be added that, as subsequent 
events have demonstrated, the Bulgarian entry into 
Salonika was a political blunder of the first magni- 
tude. Their descent to the ^Egean was not dictated 
by any military necessity, for the forces opposed to 
them had been withdrawn, Hassan Tahsin Pacha 
was already the unhappy Commander of a beaten 
army, and the Greeks were well able to take care of 
the interests of the allies on the littoral; for it is 
manifestly certain that had the Greeks so desired 
they could without the shghtest difficulty have 
occupied Kavala and Dedeagatch by landing naval 
detachments. The march was, therefore, dictated 
solely by political considerations. Had Bulgaria 
stopped short of Salonika, she would have occupied 
an undisputed zone, the second war would have 
been avoided, and she might have obliged Servia to 
evacuate a part, if not the whole of the " arbitration " 
territory which King Peter's army had occupied. In 
grasping the shadow of Salonika, Bulgaria lost the 
substance of Macedonia. 

It may reasonably be asked whence these 36,000 
Bulgars should have gone if their action in pene- 
trating to Salonika was so greatly at fault. They 



MARCH TO SALONIKA 173 

should, of course, have been transferred immediately 
to the Plains of Thrace, where their presence would 
doubtless have enabled the Bulgarian army to drive 
home its initial victories in that theatre. Thus might 
peace have been forced upon the Turks, and the 
wastage of money and human life entailed by the 
subsequent weeks of negotiation and warfare would 
have been avoided. 

Yet, despite all these considerations, it cannot be 
denied that by all save the Hellenic population of 
Salonika, the Bulgarians were much more warmly 
welcomed than the Greeks. Various reasons com- 
bined to produce this result. The Levantine Hellene 
is, generally speaking, by no means a worthy repre- 
sentative of his nation. Whether this be due to 
spasmodic intermarrying with other peoples, or to 
the influence of environment — commercial, social and 
racial — I know not ; but it is an undoubted fact 
apparent alike to foreigner and native. The Bul- 
garian physique and martial bearing without doubt 
also counted for much. The Greek soldier is by 
nature diminutive in comparison ; he is less highly 
disciplined, and until his uniform is re-designed and 
he is taught how to wear it, the passer-by must be 
pardoned if he fails to attribute to him that military 
value which his deeds in these two wars have shown 
him to possess in such high degree. This necessary 
disciplining of the Hellene will not be easy of ac- 
complishment. He is essentially democratic, and 
the severity of Bulgarian or Prussian training would 
destroy his " soul," while effecting no other useful 
purpose. The Greek is possessed of an alert mind : 
he is accustomed to think and to argue, and he will 



174 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

never develop into a mere fighting machine. Rather 
must his individual intelligence be cultivated, and 
must he be taught to appreciate the logical necessity 
of precision in military movement. The Greek 
soldier of to-day is a magnificent instrument for 
attack ; patriotism in its highest degree then replaces 
discipline, and officers are necessary to lead rather 
than to command. But these are characteristics 
which are thoroughly appreciated only after a close 
association with the people. What the Saloniciens 
saw were smartly attired Bulgarian guards standing 
rigidly at attention outside the residence of their 
General, and the Greek exemplar propping up 
a sentry-box before the palace of his Royal 
Commander-in-Chief — and they drew the obvious 
conclusions. 

Yet the factor which counted for most in this 
preference was that the Bulgarian was accepted at 
his advertised value. King Ferdinand and his 
statesmen understand the value of the reclame. For 
years the Sofia Government has carried on a well- 
organised and expensive Press campaign in Europe, 
and has succeeded in enlisting the sympathies of 
well-known authors and journalists — in some in- 
stances quite gratuitously. The Greek Govern- 
ments, on the other hand, have consistently failed to 
appreciate the power of the Press, and have not only 
omitted to ensure publicity to their virtues, but have 
permitted an unchecked exploitation of their failings. 
Any organised attempt to place the Greek cause 
before the European public is as conspicuous by its 
absence now, after the obvious lesson should have 
been learned, as it was before the Balkan wars. 



MARCH TO SALONIKA 175 

Saloniciens believed the Bulgarians to be a nation 
of sturdy, hard-working, determined and unimagina- 
tive tillers of the soil, who had made wonderful 
strides of national progress since Russia made them 
the precious gift of independence. All this, with 
the exception of the alleged lack of imagination, is 
undoubtedly true. The race possesses many admir- 
able and enviable qualities. Saloniciens had, more- 
over, so often read that the Bulgarian soldier 
("who by his discipline and bravery has conquered 
the admiration of the whole of civilised Europe," 
once modestly wrote General Hassapdjieff to Prince 
Nicholas) was invincible, and that the Bulgars were 
at once the Prussians and the Japanese of the Orient, 
that they had become obsessed with the same idea. 
Lastly, the inspired reports of the victories over the 
Turks in Thrace had not at this time been trimmed 
down to truthful limits, and Lieutenant Wagner was 
still an undestroyed authority. 

While for these and other reasons the Bulgarians 
became the darlings of the European colony, the 
sympathies of the Jews (who number about two- 
thirds of the population) turned in the same direction, 
chiefly because they feared the mercantile savoir 
faire of the Greek and regarded the Bulgar as their 
commercial inferior. 

When, therefore, we listened to stories telling how 
the three columns had worked their way down to 
Salonika in clearing the country of hostile forces 
and protecting the peaceful Moslem populations 
against aggression, they so exactly coincided with 
preconceived impressions that they fell on willing 
ears. The Bulgarophile atmosphere thus created 



176 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

continued to exist until details began to arrive of 
the hideous atrocities committed principally by the 
Bulgarian irregulars who accompanied the regular 
army into Macedonia. Then the native inhabitants 
with one accord sent up prayers of thankfulness that 
the town had capitulated to the Hellenes. It is 
difficult to imagine why the Bulgarian Government 
found it necessary to play into the hands of these 
blood-stained auxiliaries and hand over the adminis- 
tration of the conquered territories to their tender 
mercies. They must surely have appreciated the 
risk of allowing men who regard murder as a pro- 
fession, and who, in many instances, had been out- 
lawed from Bulgaria, to work their savage will upon 
the defenceless Moslem. The result was a disgrace 
to Christianity, and immediately robbed the Bulgars 
of the sympathy that had hitherto been theirs. 

The system followed by the three Bulgarian 
columns appears to have been invariable. As the 
troops passed through the villages, Mussulmans were 
disarmed, Bulgars armed, and the lines of communi- 
cation were left in the uncontrolled hands of the 
irregular bands. The Bulgarian Government was, 
without doubt, much indebted to its voivodes, and 
these brigand chiefs were rewarded with appoint- 
ments as governors of various towns and districts. 
This promotion of aforetime outlaws to posts of 
administrative authority was systematic, and a reign 
of terror for Moslem, and in a lesser degree for 
Greek, was thereby ushered in. I well remember 
my astonishment at the proposal of a ci-devant 
Turkish Valli of Salonika to make the famous 
" komitadji " Tchernopieff a judge " to keep him out 



MARCH TO SALONIKA 177 

of mischief," and it will therefore be understood that I 
was no less surprised when I learned that the Bul- 
garian authorities had nominated this individual ris 
Governor of the flourishing tobacco centre of Kavala. 

Kavala was occupied, without opposition, by a 
mixed band of Bulgarian regulars and " komitadjis." 
Tchernopieff, as I have already stated, was appointed 
Governor of the town, and another of his felon breed, 
Tchakoff, caimakam of town and district. A proc- 
lamation, promising to respect the lives and honour 
of all citizens, was issued in the name of King 
Ferdinand, following which over one hundred and 
fifty innocent Moslems (including women) were 
arrested on a trumped-up charge of having plotted 
to massacre the Christians. At dawn on several 
following days these poor wretches were led out in 
batches, stabbed to death in cold blood, and left to 
rot in the open air. Some of them received between 
twenty and thirty bayonet wounds — others were 
mutilated in a most disgusting fashion. Seven rich 
Jews were arrested and imprisoned until a ransom 
of ^10,000 was forthcoming, and Ibrahim Pacha, a 
wealthy Turk, paid a similar sum for his life. An 
interesting comment on this barbarity is the fact that 
most of the murdered Moslems were landed pro- 
prietors, whose ground was subsequently distributed 
among the assassins. 

After the flight of the Turkish garrison from 
Serres, that town was surrendered to a Bulgarian 
band captained by one Djankoff. Pretexting a 
search for arms, the " komitadji " emptied the houses 
of the Moslem inhabitants of their valuables and 
outraged wives and daughters under the eyes of their 

M 



178 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

husbands and fathers. Several days later somebody 
— whether Turk or Bulgar has not been established 
— fired a rifle, whereupon a general massacre was 
inaugurated, and one hundred and fifty victims fell, 
often done to death in a most horrible manner. 

Probably the most concentrated example of this 
unspeakable savagery was perpetrated at Strum- 
nitza. I give the story of Midhat Bey, the former 
Imperial Procurator of the town, not only because 
he is an educated Moslem and a personal friend, 
but because I was able to confirm his report in its 
essential details from no less than three indepen- 
dent sources, including the testimony of one of 
those Protestant missionaries who labour among 
the Bulgarians, and who obtained his information 
from the Bulgarian inhabitants of the town them- 
selves. Midhat Bey's report reads as follows : 

" The Turkish troops evacuated the town on 
22nd October, 191 2 (v.s.). Four hours later a 
Bulgarian band of thirty persons captained by 
Tchakoff entered, followed the next day by a force 
of 15,000 Bulgarian regulars and 2000 Serbs. I 
was nominated Mayor. Although they had pro- 
mised to respect the lives of the inhabitants, within 
forty-eight hours eleven Moslems had been killed, 
and one hundred shops and sixty houses belong- 
ing to Moslems and Jews had been looted by 
the ' komitadjis.' Within four days thirty-four 
Moslems were massacred, and I thereupon pro- 
tested to the authorities. My protest being in- 
effectual, I resigned the mayoralty. During 
twenty-two days following my resignation the 



MARCH TO SALONIKA 179 

Mussulmans were summoned to the Konak by the 
Mihtary Commandant and the Chief of PoHce, and 
there tried by mock court martial. Over five 
hundred and ninety of these people, including one 
doctor, two majors, four captains, four lieutenants 
and one hundred Turkish prisoners of war, were 
condemned to death. They were denuded of 
their valuables and clothes with the exception of 
shirt and drawers, and marched through the town 
in batches to the abbatoir, where, with eyes 
banded, they were killed, mostly by the bayonet, 
and buried in eight trenches dug near the barracks. 
Only four shops and houses belonging to Mussul- 
mans escaped pillage, eighty cartloads of loot 
being dispatched out of the town. Greeks who 
had endeavoured to provide sanctuary for Mussul- 
man friends saw their guests dragged out of their 
houses and slaughtered before their eyes." 

Kilkich was the seat of a Bulgarian Rom.an 
Catholic bishopric.^ The Uniate Church assured 

' The Bulgarian State Church is schismatic and therefore 
accorded by Rome a tolerance which the Pope cannot extend to 
the Greek or Servian orthodox churches. Moreover, King 
Ferdinand himself is a Catholic and his Government welcomed 
the establishment of schools conducted by the sisters of Roman 
religious orders, just as, at a later date, it offered no opposition 
to the American Protestant missionaries who provided Bulgarian 
youths with technical instruction. This liberality of thought 
has stirred up considerable outside sympathy for Bulgaria, has 
brought to her people instruction which they lacked, but is 
unlikely to have any lasting effect upon the religious thought 
of the people. The Uniate Catholic Church is, in fact, a piece 
of political jobbery tolerated and protected by the Exarchate. 
On one occasion, when the inhabitants of a Uniate village 
requested the Exarch to accept their abjuration, he appealed to 



180 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

a certain protection under the Turkish regime, and 
the Catholic missions were successful in obtaining a 
goodly number of professing converts. Consequently 
their sympathies are wholly Bulgarian, and we may, 
therefore, without hesitation, accept the statements 
of Pere Gustave Michel, a priest of the French 
mission at Kilkich, when he tells of the abominations 
committed by the Bulgars in that district. He relates 
that he was an unwilling eye-witness to some of a 
long series of crimes committed in and around 
Kilkich. At Kurkut a band, captained by Dort- 
chieff, drove all the men into a mosque, compelling 
all the women to stand around it. Then they set 
fire to the building and burned several hundred 
occupants alive. At Planitza this devihsh perform- 



them to remain Catholic, as they could thereby best serve the 
national cause. The same criticism may be applied in a lesser 
degree to the Protestant propaganda. 

*' Les Lazaristes de Salonique, en effet, ont converti bon 
nombre de ces Slaves au catholicisme : Kukus (Kilkich), avec 
son ^vech^ catholique, est un des centres de I'^glise Bulgare 
uniate. Perdus, aujourd'hui, dans la masse des Bulgares eiarch- 
istes, ces Slaves catholiques tendent k disparaitre. Mais I'Exarque 
Bulgare et ses pr^tres ne font aucun effort pour achever la ruine 
de cette ^glise. lis semblent, au contraire, en prot^ger soig- 
neusement les restes, ici, autour de Doiran, comme en Thrace 
au'tour d'Adrinople et de Kirk Kilissi. Les notables d'un village 
uniate ^tant venus trouver I'Exarque pour lui demander de recevoir 
leur abjuration, TExarque fit appel k leur patriotisme Bulgare 
et leur remontra qu'en restant catholiques, iU servaient bien 
mieux la cause nationale. C'^tait au moment des discussions 
avec la Russie pour le transfert de I'Exarque k Sofia; I'Exarque 
ce servait du catholicisme pour effrayer le Russe orthodoxe, et 
lui montrer que les Bulgares connaissaient encore ou pourraient 
retrouver le chemin de Rome." — V. B6rard, " La Macedoine," 
p. 263. 



MARCH TO SALONIKA 181 

ance was repeated by the same band, who afterwards 
burned the women who had witnessed the spectacle. 
At Rainovo hundreds of men and women were 
massacred, and a well was filled with corpses. In 
Kilkich itself the Mussulmans were massacred by 
the population and their mosques destroyed. 

" I was called," says Pere Michel, " to the death- 
bed of a Christian who had been beaten for having 
refused to deliver his little girl to a ' komitadji.' I 
applied to the French Consul at Salonika to have 
the massacres stopped, for they were a disgrace to 
humanity and to all Europe." 

I, personally, asked a sister of the Order of 
St Vincent and St Paul at Salonika whether the 
conduct of the Catholic Bulgarians had been any 
better than that of the Exarchists, and she replied 
that " unfortunately it has been equally reprehen- 
sible." 

The European steward of a large property in 
this district assured me that the Bulgarian peasants 
divided up the farms belonging to Turkish proprie- 
tors even before their owners were slaughtered. 

I have cited these particular details as examples. 
I could increase them a hundredfold. All along 
the routes covered by these Bulgarian columns was 
left a trail of slaughter, outrage and pillage. There 
was a systematic attempt to exterminate the Moslems. 
One Bulgarian officer at least admitted and regretted 
these horrors. 

" An engineer officer, a friend of mine/' he further 
told me, " was in charge of a company of sappers 
who were repairing a bridge over the Struma River, 
when a convoy of six hundred Turkish prisoners 



182 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

was brought along in the charge of a band. The 
voivode approached him with a request that he would 
study the scenery behind him a few minutes. ' But 
why } ' retorted the officer. ' Well,' continued the 
Chief, 'we have a few hundred Turks here, and if 
you will turn round we will throw them into the 
river. 

An English volunteer with the Bulgarian army 
informed me that when Yaver Pacha surrendered 
near Gumuldgina, the only request he made was 
that his men should be placed under the charge of 
an escort of regular troops. " He had good reason," 
remarked my fellow-countryman, " for if they had 
been handed over to our division, not the half of 
them would ever have reached Bulgaria." 

Simultaneously with the massacres, the Bulgarians 
carried out a series of " cold steel " conversions 
of Moslem peasants who had escaped slaughter. 
" Mohammed or the sword " gave place to " Chris- 
tianity or the bayonet," and we were shown that acts 
considered as in the highest degree reprehensible 
when committed by victorious Moslems centuries 
ago can be condoned as justifiable when imitated by 
Christian conquerors in the present age of light and 
learning. I remember meeting in the streets of 
Salonika a wealthy Turkish tobacco planter from 
a village — which must be nameless because it has 
remained in Bulgarian territory. He had discarded 
the fez for the more prosaic bowler, and he answered 
to a Bulgarian name. Briefly, his story was that the 
inhabitants of the township had been called to the 
mosque, where it was ordered that those who desired 
to be baptised as Christians should lift up their 



MARCH TO SALONIKA 183 

hands. There being no response, several of the 
notables were led outside and dispatched. The 
invitation was then repeated and the congregation 
surrendered, were baptised and given Bulgarian 
names. In this manner were the ranks of Chris- 
tianity swelled by thousands of forcibly converted 
adherents. 

In view of the facts which I have here but briefly 
recorded, is it any wonder that I was constrained 
to telegraph to England that Macedonia was being 
drenched with the blood of innocents ? The Bulgars 
first asked me to refrain from wiring over further 
reports, then warned me of the consequences which 
might follow my so doing — " Because our irregulars 
won't stand that sort of thing." To such requests 
and threats alike I had but one answer : " Stop the 
massacres and my telegrams will automatically cease." 
I find it poor excuse for this gross offence against 
humanity to assert that the Turks in past centuries 
committed similar deeds. If the Balkan War of 
191 2 had any justification, it was surely to replace 
the barbarism of the Crescent by the civilisation 
of the Cross. The events which transpired con- 
stituted an affront, an insult, and a disgrace to 
Christianity. Of protests there were many ; but it 
was the Moslem who was being slain, and Europe 
would not lend us her ears and Foreign Offices 
carefully pigeon-holed the reports received from 
their Macedonia Consulates. When, at a later date, 
General Hassapdjieff informed the Salonika Relief 
Committee that the refugees might return to their 
homes, the Chairman (the British Consul General) 
felt it incumbent upon him to demand a guarantee 



184 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

that their lives would be respected. When, further, 
the correspondent of the Temps suggested that La 
Lique des Droits de I'Homme be petitioned to send 
out a commission of investigation, there was not a 
single representative of a European journal but felt 
himself compelled to join in the appeal! 

Such, then, is the story of the Bulgarian march to 
Salonika. I have not overdrawn the picture. I 
have but supplied the outline and must leave it to 
others to fill in the details and deepen the shading. 
It is, even so, a sordid tale of cold-blooded savagery, 
and when, months afterwards, I heard a Bulgarian 
Protestant lecturer solicit the sympathy of an English 
Nonconformist audience on the ground that religious 
open-air meetings are permitted in the parks of Sofia, 
the hollow mockery of it all appalled and disgusted 
me. My mind inevitably wandered back to that 
charred mosque in which several hundred souls were 
burned alive, to that well choked with the corpses of 
slaughtered non-combatants, to those villages where 
terrorised Moslems renounced the religion of their 
fathers in order to save their unhappy skins, and 
to those dishonoured daughters of murdered fathers 
whose purity was sacrificed to gratify the lust of thai 
army of conquerors who overran Macedonia carry- 
ing banners surmounted by a holy cross. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THE GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE 

Four confederated Balkan States forming one 
military unit of imposing force, enjoying a free 
interchange of merchandise under a customs union, 
animated by the same ideals, owning allegiance to 
the same brand of Christianity, and differing only 
in race, language and custom. The Balkans in 
possession of the Balkan peoples. Such was the 
Utopia drawn for us by Balkan statesmen, and by 
many journalists and writers who had endeavoured 
for years past to convince the world that the one 
thing necessary to end five hundred years of misrule, 
disentangle a skein which had baffled European 
diplomacy for three decades and transform the 
danger zone of Europe into an Eden of peace and 
prosperity, was to drive the Turk, bag and baggage, 
into Asia. Yet it would be surprising to hear that 
there was a single soldier or diplomat in the whole 
of Europe who had the faintest idea that the Otto- 
man army would, within a few days of the outbreak 
of hostilities, degenerate into a hopeless, beaten 
rabble, or who believed that the allies would make 
more than a more or less successful fight, and, while 
gaining some extension of their frontiers, force the 

185 



186 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Porte to grant a large measure of autonomy to 
Macedonia. 

When the alHed forces had driven their enemy 
from every important point in the battle area, and 
had beaten his armed hosts into starving guerilla 
bands, it was easy to talk of the inevitableness of it 
all, of the " course of history " and of the victory of 
Cross over Crescent. Even European statesmen, 
who had a few weeks previously solemnly warned 
the League that they would under no circumstances 
countenance any territorial changes, vied with one 
another in eating their words and in declaring that 
the status quo — that cherished old humbug of moth- 
eaten chancelleries — had vanished for ever. Thence- 
forth the world prepared itself for the surgical 
operation which should slice European Turkey into 
four pieces, and end, once and for all, the trouble- 
some Near-Eastern question. 

The laudable attempt of the Balkan delegates 
in London to preserve a united front before their 
common enemy was, however, so successful that for 
some time little was heard in Europe of the differ- 
ences which had arisen between the allies, and which 
were to confront the plenipotentiaries when they set 
about the division of the spoils of war. Yet as early 
as November, 191 2, the writer felt constrained to 
suggest that, far from approaching the end of the 
story, we had but turned the first page of a history 
whose unfolding will yet encompass many a tale of 
intrigue and bloodshed. The race to enter Salonika, 
the Greek success, the Bulgarian chagrin, the oft- 
repeated charges of bad faith on both sides, and 
the bitterness voiced by high and low, gave one 




ft 



VEXEZEI.OS. 



A Cretan lawyer, wild lias taken iiis place in the fii-st rank of Knropean statesmen. 
To those who know him, he is distinguished Ij.v gentleness of manner coniliined with 
great will power and a faenlty for seeing far ahead. Kot the least of the outstanding 
c-haraeteristics of this I luly remarkable man is the detennination with which lie lias 
iiioi-c than once defied Greek public opinion 



GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE 187 

a reminder of past Greco-Bulgarian hatred and a 
glimpse into the future race-struggle for supremacy. 

To appreciate what the possession of Salonika 
meant to the allies it is necessary to remember 
that it is the key to Macedonia. It was one of 
the greatest, if not the greatest, prizes of the war. 
Its occupation would have permitted Bulgaria to 
economically swallow the whole of Macedonia, just 
as its annexation to Greece will enable the Hellenes 
to check any overpowering advance by their neigh- 
bour. Given Salonika, the Bulgars would have had, 
ready at hand, a great seaport with railway con- 
nections running through the vast territory they 
expected to annex; let it remain in the hands of 
Greece and they will find themselves obliged to 
construct a new port geographically inferior, and to 
lay down railway communications through a difficult 
country.^ 

Admittedly, after the great effort which they had 
put forward, it must have been exceedingly galling 
to the Bulgars to find themselves a day late in the 
race to the ^gean. There is nothing more exas- 
perating than to be beaten by a short head. But 
it is really questionable whether the anger and 
disgust thereby engendered justified the attitude 
which they forthwith adopted towards their more 
fortunate allies. As we have noted in the history 
of the capitulation of Salonika, General Theodoroff 
had requested hospitality for two of his battalions ; 

' As long ago as 1885, Schopoflf, the Secretary of the Exarchate, 
wrote : " Salonika ought to be the chief town of our country. 
Salonika ought to be the chief window of our edifice. Let us 
work then in Macedonia." 



188 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

he actually marched in an entire brigade. He had 
assured the Crown Prince that the Bulgarians would 
only occupy the quarters provided for them by the 
Bulgarian community; he actually requisitioned a 
large number of houses and public edifices, includ- 
ing the mosque of St Sophia and the Turkish Law 
school. He had promised that the troops should 
submit to the regulations of the Greek authorities; 
but the Bulgarians soon ignored the Greek gendarm- 
ery and inaugurated their own patrols, who, by their 
attitude, clearly demonstrated that they recognised 
no authority other than that of their own Commander- 
in-Chief. 

Little wonder then that the relations between the 
two armies speedily became more unpleasant, and 
the visitor would have been inevitably impressed 
by the absence of any display of fraternity between 
Greek and Bulgarian troops. It must have been 
strange, indeed, for any but a resident, to hear these 
two peoples, who till then had been engaged in 
the common task of slaying the Moslem, refer to 
the Turk as an impossible governor, but otherwise 
compare him favourably with Greek or Bulgar, as 
the case might be. It was at best an inauspicious 
beginning. Pan-Hellenism and Pan-Bulgarism 
were not dead, but sleeping, and signs were not 
lacking that the hatred between the two peoples 
was as living a force as when the rival bands of 
" komitadji " soaked the soil of Macedonia with 
Christian blood. 

Within a week of the capitulation relations had 
become strained nigh to bursting point and the 
Bulgars were openly talking of the prospect of war 



GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE 189 

with Greece. There had been trouble concerning 
the beautiful mosque of St Sophia — seized by the 
Bulgars to accommodate their surplus troops — and 
at one time there were Bulgarian troops in the 
mosque, Greeks outside in the mosque-yard and 
Bulgars again surrounding the whole. There had 
further been a serious dispute about the seizure of 
a Bulgarian locomotive from Serres. 

Had the congestion of the rival troops continued, 
it is to be feared that a serious outbreak would have 
been unavoidable, but fortunately the exigencies of 
warfare in other fields necessitated the dispatch of 
most of the Bulgarians to Dedeagatch. The Greeks 
were able to provide the necessary transports and 
escort for the transfer of this army, but their action 
merits little recognition at our hands, for they would 
with equal or greater pleasure have transported the 
entire division. Simultaneously, there was a large 
exodus of Greek troops towards Sorovitch, and 
Salonika began to regain its customary calm. 

Prior to his departure for Sorovitch to the relief 
of the V Division, the Duke of Sparta appointed 
his brother. Prince Nicholas, Military Governor of 
Salonika. This nomination gravely displeased the 
Bulgarians, but for Greece it proved to be one of the 
happiest events of the epoch. Indeed, it is not too 
much to say that Hellas owes a debt of gratitude 
to His Royal Highness for the diplomatic skill with 
which he handled the many critical developments 
during the joint occupation, and the foresight which 
led him, conscious of the breakers ahead, to conceive 
the idea of an alliance with Servia and open up 
foiirfarlers to that end with Prince Alexander, 



190 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

One of Prince Nicholas's first initiatives was to 
invite King Ferdinand's sons, the Princes Boris and 
Cyril, to a reception at the Salonika Club, where, to 
the strains of military music, the healths of the Greek 
and Bulgarian Royal families were respectively 
toasted and washed down with champagne. The 
whole performance was, of course, a farce, but any- 
thing calculated to relieve the existing tension was, 
at the time, cordially welcome, and, as a matter of 
fact, relations were considerably improved. 

Unfortunately, the new-born peace was but short- 
lived. In the outlying villages there had been con- 
siderable overlapping of occupation, due to the fact 
that the Bulgarians had marched through a country 
much of which had previously been occupied by 
Greek troops who had been landed on the gulf of 
Orfano prior to the capitulation of Salonika. Again 
at Langazar, after the Bulgars had marched through 
without signalling an occupation, and the Greeks had 
a day later hoisted their flag and inaugurated a civil 
administration, a band of Bulgarian irregulars under 
the notorious " komitadji " Dombalakoff arrived, and 
presenting his nomination as dclcgue civile, the chief 
demanded the withdrawal of the Hellenes. Dom- 
balakoff had previously declared his sentiments 
towards the alliance by entering the church of the 
Greek village of Sohos during service, where, having 
warned the priest that no other sovereign than King 
Ferdinand was to be mentioned in prayer (the Greek 
custom was to name all four rulers) he cursed the 
Greek troops and ordered them to quit the village. 
Prince Nicholas subsequently retired his detachment 
from Langazar, and Dombalakoff, doubtless attracted 



GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE 191 

by the revenues from the near-by fisheries, gave up 
brigandage and tried his prentice hand at civil 
governorship. 

There were a thousand and one instances which 
clearly demonstrated the mutual hatred of the two 
races for one another, and it seemed that the Bulgars 
were determined to embrace every possible occasion 
of humiliating their allies. Thus at Likovan, on 
nth November, a band of Bulgarian irregulars shot 
the entire Turkish male population under the eyes 
of a Greek detachment, who were obliged to protect 
the terror-stricken women and children who ran to 
them for sanctuary. 

Though the Bulgarian forces at Salonika had been 
nominally commanded, first by General Theodoroff, 
and, after his departure with the division to Dedea- 
gatch, by General Andreeff, the man at the wheel 
was, in reality, General Petroff. Petroff's real 
position was always more or less veiled in mystery, 
but I was subsequently informed in the highest 
Bulgarian circles that he had actually no other office 
than that of guardian to the young Princes Boris 
and Cyril, and that subsequently, upon his own 
initiative, he had usurped the position of General 
Theodoroff and then endeavoured to control Bul- 
garian action. I cannot do other than agree with 
my informant that, although the General's spirit may 
be an admirable asset upon the battle-field, it was not 
calculated to lead to the happiest results when ques- 
tions sensible to amicable arrangement arose between 
the allies. It is not surprising, therefore (I continue 
to quote from highly placed Bulgarian sources) that 
reports emphasising the danger of General Petroff's 



192 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

diplomacy eventually reached Sofia, with the result 
that General Hassapdjieff — an experienced soldier- 
diplomat — was nominated as Bulgarian representa- 
tive. This change of leadership arrived at a most 
opportune moment, when relations between the two 
armies were growing continually more delicate, and 
probably avoided a sanguinary struggle between the 
allies within a month of the occupation. 

Early in December the dual possession of the 
Salonika-Serres railway led to serious friction. The 
Greeks held the line as far north as the 14th kilo- 
metre — where they had posted a small detachment. 
The Bulgars apparently coveted this position; but 
instead of entering into pourparlers with the Greek 
staff, they adopted the same tactics on this occasion 
as they months later made use of against their allies, 
and attempted to seize the post by force. At midday 
on 4th December a train coming from the direction 
of Serres drew up at the 14th kilometre and deposited 
a Bulgarian force consisting of three officers and 
sixty men, who ordered the Hellenes to quit. The 
Greeks naturally refused to obey, and telegraphed 
news of the incident to Salonika. There were no 
developments until 6.30 p.m., when another south- 
ward bound train stopped at the station. Then the 
Bulgarians fixed bayonets, surrounded the inferior 
Greek detachment, forced them to enter the carriages, 
bundled in their equipment after them, and sent the 
train forward to Salonika. 

Prior to their departure, however, another act in 
the drama was being played in Salonika. The news 
of the arrival of the Bulgarians had roused the Greek 
staff to action, and orders were issued for the dispatch 



GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE 193 

of two companies to the 14th kilometre. At 5.45 
p.m. the reinforcements entrained and were on the 
point of leaving, when a Bulgarian officer, on the 
pretext that two trains were then on the single 
line, requested a delay. Scenting trouble, the Greek 
officer agreed to wait only fifteen minutes, at the 
expiration of which time preparations were again 
made for departure. Then the Bulgarian officer 
gave a signal and his men opposed the advance of 
the Greek train with loaded rifles. More Hellenic 
troops covered the Bulgars, however, and some 
" komitadjis " who were busy placing bombs higher 
up the line received appropriate attention. 

Explanations demanded and excuses offered, the 
Bulgarian attempt to seize the 14th kilometre fell 
through. First the post was occupied by a mixed 
guard, but soon the Greeks were left in undisputed 
possession. 

I have given the affair of the 14th kilometre 
perhaps more attention than it merits, not only 
because it was the first serious incident between 
Greek and Bulgar, but also because it marked the 
exit of General Petroff from executive authority. 
When the General heard of the failure of the Bulga- 
rian strategy he was — so one of his brother officers of 
equal rank informed me — enraged, and ordered that a 
large force should be dispatched with orders to fire 
on the Hellenes. Then it was that the peacemaker, 
General Hassapdjieff, rose up and, flourishing the 
newly arrived telegram announcing his appointment 
to the command, declared that these were matters 
to be settled by diplomatic negotiation, that he 
had determined to follow his o\vn plan, and that, if 



194 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

he failed, he would perhaps then seek the aid of 
Petroff's battalions. It was thus that General 
Hassapdjieff came into our lives, and he remained 
a central figure in Salonicien history until, six months 
later, he was allowed, alone and unattended, to slip 
past the 14th kilometre into the Bulgarian lines. 

Whether owing to his personal tact or as a result 
of orders from Sofia, the new Bulgarian chief immedi- 
ately placed relations on a better footing. He called 
upon Prince Nicholas, expressed his regret at the 
tactics adopted by his predecessors, discoursed upon 
the necessity of harmony between the allies, and so 
impressed Greek higher circles with his sincerity and 
appreciation of what the ideal relations should be, 
that it was felt that the desired fraternity between 
the two races could not be far distant. 

Slowly but surely, however, the breach widened 
again, and there developed not only antagonism 
between the two races, but, what was vastly more 
interesting to the political student, a battle of wits 
between the two leaders. It was my privilege to 
watch the sparring from very close quarters, and 
never was diplomatic warfare more fascinating. On 
the one hand there was the Greek Prince, young, 
polished, somewhat emotional, sincere to a fault, but 
a naturally brilliant exponent of honest statesman- 
ship. If a certain inexperience was manifested in 
the manner in which he took unjust accusations to 
heart, his correspondence proved his perfect masterv 
of the art of diplomatic expression. Against him 
was matched Hassapdjieff, a soldier also, sharp, 
cynical, and perhaps at times a little unscrupulous, 
not without a certain charm of character and with 



GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE 195 

years of political service behind him : he, too, was 
an accomplished French scholar, and if he erred, it 
was that he sadly underestimated the value of his 
opponent. General Hassapdjieff became infected 
with the swelled head from which most of his com- 
rades in Salonika suffered, and towards the end he 
developed, in its most insidious form, that arrogance 
which was perhaps the greatest of all causes of the 
Bulgarian debacle. 

Had he been confronted with a less capable 
adversary, Hassapdjieff would have added yet 
another to his laurels, but Prince Nicholas, partly 
because he was the cleverer diplomat and partly 
because he generally had righteous argument on his 
side, kept his antagonist against the ropes, and it 
was only the fact that the General was present in a 
civil rather than a military capacity which spared him 
the knock-out blow upon the outbreak of the Greco- 
Bulgarian War. 

It will be impossible for me, within the scope of 
this story, to deal with all the many incidents which 
arose to disturb the relations between the two allies. 
Scarce a day passed but some cause of friction, som-^^ 
more or less serious dispute, was the source of mutup] 
recrimination. At first the Greeks, unsure of them- 
selves, showed a tendency to give way : but the 
Bulgars took the pitcher too often to the well, with 
the result that finally force was opposed by force 
and the inevitable bloodshed ensued. There were 
sometimes faults on both sides, and while it is not 
my object to beat any particular drum, it would 
be inconsistent with my desire to lead my readers 



196 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

to an understanding of the cause and effect of the 
Balkan wars were I not to state my conviction 
that, with very few exceptions, the Bulgarians were 
to blame for the untoward events which transpired. 
Their attitude towards their allies was openly hostile, 
and so obvious were the facts, that their attempt to 
cast the responsibility for their own misdeeds upon 
other shoulders went for naught. 

Before I treat, in a succeeding chapter, with 
the most important of the incidents which marred 
the harmony of Greco-Bulgarian relations, it will 
be fitting for me to refer to the conclusion of the 
armistice with Turkey in December, 191 2. 

On 2nd November Kailmil Pacha, acting on 
behalf of the Sublime Porte, visited the Russian 
Minister in Constantinople, and made his first sug- 
gestion for the conclusion of an armistice. Russia, 
however, did not feel capable of acting alone, and 
Kailmil thereupon addressed himself to the Concert 
of European Powers. A few days later the Turkish 
statesman addressed a telegram to King Ferdinand 
of Bulgaria in which he renewed his request for a 
cessation of hostilities. But Bulgaria was drunk 
with victory and there were cherished dreams that 
peace would be signed within the walls of Con- 
stantinople itself. Thus far the Turkish opposition 
had been singularly ineffective and — well, it looked 
so easy to force the Tchataldja lines and encamp 
victorious on the shores of the Golden Horn. 

The attack on Tchataldja was therefore ordered, 
and after three days of fierce combat (17th, iSth and 
19th November), the invaders were at last repulsed 
with severe loss. Thereupon Bulgaria changed her 



GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE 197 

tune and Mr Gueshoff declared that in view of 
the compHcations which it might entrain, his country 
had decided to sacrifice the idea of entering Con- 
stantinople, and he offered to sign an armistice upon 
the condition that Turkey should cede the Tchataldja 
lines and Adrianople (neither of which had been 
taken), together with the fortresses of Scutari and 
Janina, which likewise continued to resist attack. 
The Turks refused. 

While the Bulgarian (acting also for Servia and 
Montenegro) and Greek delegates arranged to meet 
the Turkish representative at Tchataldja, Kailmil 
Pacha entered into negotiations with Bulgaria and 
Greece. The Hellenes were given to understand 
that their aspirations would receive satisfaction pro- 
vided they would sign an armistice and withdraw 
their fleet from the ^gean. Had Athens agreed 
to this proposition (which, by the way, would have 
saved her thousands of pounds and months of 
uncertainty and anxiety) there is little doubt that the 
Turks would have profited by the occasion to throw 
reinforcements into Thrace, and matters might have 
gone ill with Bulgaria. Mr Venezelos, however, 
with that loyalty which is so characteristic of him, 
refused these enticing overtures and declined to 
abandon his alHes. The result was to persuade 
King Fredinand's Government to insist upon the 
Greek conditions to an armistice which were : 

1. The capitulation of Janina. 

2. Maintenance of the Greek blockade of the 
Asiatic coast. 

3. Release of Greek steamers seized prior to 
the war. 



198 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

The Porte remained obdurate, and Bulgaria com- 
menced to give way. Her army was thoroughly 
fatigued and contaminated by cholera. Moreover, 
the three days' unsuccessful attack on Tchataldja had 
given birth to a wholesome respect for the Turkish 
fortifications. Greece, noting the weakness of her 
ally, appealed to her not to accept the Turkish 
counter proposals, and, going still further, offered to 
land three divisions on the Gulf of Enos, and, as 
a result of a combined attack on the Dardanelles 
by land and sea, to force the Straits and dictate 
peace at Constantinople in the name of the League. 
Bulgaria did not deign even to reply to this offer, 
but on 3rd December concluded an armistice with 
the Porte on behalf of herself, Servia and Monte- 
negro. 

Thus, while her allies rested, Greece continued 
the struggle. Most happy was this for Bulgaria, for 
had the Hellenes left the /Egean open, Turkey would 
have poured reinforcements into Dedeagatch, to the 
immense discomfiture and perhaps certain defeat of 
King Ferdinand's army. The story stands in little 
need of comment. I do not know whether Mr 
Gueshoff deliberately planned the manoeuvre which 
I have outlined, but it cannot but be admitted that, 
whereas loyalty and sacrifice characterised the 
attitude of Athens, that of Sofia was entirely governed 
by the particular interests of Bulgaria. 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE Continued 

Amid the innumerable incidents which testified to 
the embittered nature of Greco-Bulgarian relations 
during the eight months which elapsed between the 
two wars, the affaires of Subozko, Nigrita, and 
the Panghaion stand out in bold relief. Indeed, 
so clearly do they indicate the difficulties which en- 
sued between the two nations, and the manner in 
which the respective authorities were wont to handle 
questions of so delicate a character, that their detailed 
consideration will relieve us from the necessity of 
examining the mass of minor quarrels which insist- 
ently checkmated any attempts to restore much- 
desired harmony. 

Subozko. — It speedily became notorious that the 
Bulgarian troops and irregulars in outlying districts 
were being left upon their own resources. Without 
pay and unrationed, they were expected to loot for 
a living — a proceeding which, in the case of the 
irregulars, composed largely of Macedonian " komit- 
adji," was not entirely foreign to their habitual mode 
of existence. On 20th February a detachment of 
fifteen Bulgarians was installed at the little village of 
Pozar, which lies high upon the mountain-side, about 
seven hours north-west of Vodena. This village — in 

199 



200 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

which the writer has more than once passed some 
very unpleasant days — is exclusively inhabited by 
the worst species of Macedo-Bulgars, who exist, 
rather than live, in a state of indescribable squalor 
and filth. The invaders belonged to a troupe of 
irregulars captained by one Djako, against whom 
the entire Moslem and Bulgarian population of the 
district had risen in complaint because, as the Turks 
adroitly put it, " he infests the villages of our district, 
employing sometimes threats, sometimes brute force, 
in order to usurp our fortunes." 

The Bulgarians of Pozar ultimately found them- 
selves compelled to appeal to the Greek authorities 
for protection against their own countrymen, with 
the result that a detachment of Hellenic troops was 
dispatched to clear the village of the armed intruders. 
Nigh into their destination the Hellenes encountered 
four of the " komitadjis " who, loading rifles and fix- 
ing bayonets, sought to impede their advance. With 
a loss of one Greek soldier wounded, the Bulgars 
were disarmed, the goods which they had stolen 
returned to the peasants, and the prisoners con- 
ducted to the near-by village of Tresino, where they 
passed the night. Djako, however, got together a 
band of fifty men, and set them off with the object 
of delivering their four comrades. But a Greek 
detachment of similar strength went in pursuit, and, 
encountering their foe near Pozar, they succeeded 
in avoiding a fight, and both bands returned to 
Subozko. The same day the four prisoners, with 
their escort, arrived at Subozko, but no sooner were 
they introduced into the Konak than the Bulgarian 
troops and irregulars garrisoned in the town attacked 



GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE 201 

the building. The Greeks first shot into the air, 
but this demonstration proving ineffective, they 
directed their fire against the incoming enemy, and 
a general engagement took place, as a result of 
which one Greek and five Bulgars were killed, 
one Bulgar mortally wounded, and three slightly 
wounded. The following day the local Bulgarian 
authorities expressed their regret, explaining that 
while the voivode Djako was largely culpable, the 
origin of the unfortunate incident lay in the fact 
that their troops were left without food or money, 
and obliged to live by pillage and loot. Such then 
are the facts. 

Whether as a result of ignorance or by design, 
this incident brought forward a remarkable epistle 
from General Hassapdjieff. With assumed pathos, 
he writes that he is " afflicted by the unqualifiable 
acts committed by the Greek troops," and asserts that 
" the Greek troops conduct themselves in a mani- 
festly hostile and provocative manner." That which 
the inhabitants and Greek authorities call " loot and 
pillage," the General refers to as " a legitimate right 
to obtain supplies," and he asks that His Royal 
Highness will advise him of the measures which he 
will decide to take in order to " impose punishment 
upon the guilty persons, and avoid a future renewal 
of such very regrettable incidents." Incidentally, 
he laments that some subordinates are apparently 
" incapable of appreciating the great importance of 
the alliance between the two countries," and he begs 
the Prince, " in the name of the precious bonds of 
friendship and alliance which unite the two states," 
to give orders for the " immediate cessation 



202 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

of the arbitrary acts which prejudice our common 
cause." 

The reader, who has the advantage of a prior 
knowledge of the facts, will appreciate the irony of 
this letter, and will, perhaps, understand the amaze- 
ment which its reception caused Prince Nicholas. 
The reply of His Royal Highness is so instructive 
that it deserves to be quoted in full. I must, however, 
content myself with the extraction of its most important 
passages. Writing to General Hassapdjieff, under 
date of 25th February, His Royal Highness says: 

" In reply to your letter of 23rd inst., I beg to 
inform you that I entirely share your views. I 
can further assure you that the astonishment 
and affliction which your letter indicates are 
entirely justified if Your Excellency is convinced 
that, despite the correct attitude of your troops, 
obedient to the orders which they receive from 
their superiors, the Greek detachments act towards 
them in a hostile and provocative manner. If 
you are certain that the military authorities under 
my orders are incapable of appreciating the im- 
portance which I attach to the sacred obligations 
of our alliance, and act in contradiction to my 
convictions and formal instructions, believe me 
that I cannot find words with which to sufficiently 
brand such insubordination to my orders. If, as 
you assure me, my soldiers interfere with your 
troops in the accomplishment of their duty, and, 
without reason, prevent them from procuring their 
means of livelihood, that fact alone constitutes 
a most deplorable lack of camaraderie. 



GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE 203 

" If," again continues His Royal Highness, 
" my subordinates have acted in the manner you 
have indicated, you are entirely justified in charg- 
ing them with the entire responsibility." 

With this tactful admission as to the enormity 
of the offence which had been committed, Prince 
Nicholas's agreement with General Hassapdjieff ends, 
and he forthwith cleverly saddles the Bulgarian 
with his own condemnation. 

" But unfortunately," he adds, " the facts are 
not as you would wish me to understand them. 
If your soldiers had been satisfied to use the 
authorisation to requisition in the villages sur- 
rounding Subozko, do you think that my subor- 
dinates would have opposed them.^ Are you not 
disposed to think that the manner in which your 
troops have sought to secure provisions has not 
always been in accordance with customary usage } " 

Prince Nicholas then proceeds to point out that 
the Bulgarian victims do not belong to the regular 
army, and that even his own people were unanimous 
in the opinion that the author of the regrettable 
incidents was none other than the ex-" komitadji," 
Djako ; he further reminds the General of his own 
declaration to Mr Venezelos that the presence of 
such individuals in the service of the army con- 
stituted an element of menace and danger. In 
accordance with this understanding, the Greek 
authorities subsequently desired to arrest Djako, 
but desisted at the request of Colonel Tsihngiroff, 



204 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

who assured them that this " komitadji," denounced 
as a brigand by all the inhabitants of the district, 
was, in fact, an officer of gendarmery, and, conse- 
quently, a functionary of the Bulgarian state. Had 
Djako proved to be a priest on holiday, no surprise 
would have been felt by those versed in Macedonian 
history, but to find a gendarmery officer masquerad- 
ing as a brigand chief was truly Gilbertian. The 
story, however, served its turn, and the chameleon 
outlaw went unpunished. 

NiGRiTA. — I think 5th March, 191 3, was the most 
memorable of the many memorable days which I 
have spent in Salonika. It was a day of double 
fete. In view of the close ties which bind Queen 
Olga to Russia, we had all prepared to rejoice at the 
Tercentenary of the Romanoff dynasty, and on that 
very morning there arrived the great news of the 
fall of Janina. Queen Olga was overcome with 
emotion. 

" What a godsend we did not receive the news 
last night," observed Her Majesty to me. " The 
suspense would have been too cruel." 

And so the Cretan gendarmery played the Russian 
anthem, and Greek royalty went to the Russian 
church ; and as we left the church guns boomed out 
a salute for the victors of Janina ; and then Russian 
officials went to the Greek church ; and at night 
there was a ball at the Russian Consulate for the 
Romanoffs, and a torchlight procession in the streets 
for Janina; and everybody in Hellas was rejoicing 
everywhere — except in Nigrita. 

Whether Nigrita can be held to have been 
theoretically occupied by the Bulgarians before the 




H.R.H. PRINCE NICHOLAS OF GREECE. 

A yoiingev brother of King Coiistantine. He is a Genei'al of Division, an eNcellent 
artillery officer, and endowed with rare diplomatic talent. His negotiation of the 
(ireco-Servian Treaty and his handling of the intensely difficult situation in Salonika, 
following the capitulation of the town, assui-e to him a prominent place in (ireek 
history. He is beloved by all who enjoy the privilege of his friendship. 



GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE 205 

Greek army took the town after a two hours' skirmish 
with the local Turkish garrison, is not for me to 
decide. So far as we are concerned, it will suffice 
to know that it was captured from the enemy by 
the Greeks, and that its population is exclusively 
Hellene and Turkish. As its possession might 
under certain circumstances have been of consider- 
able importance when the new frontier came to be 
drawn, the Bulgarian desire to remove the Greek 
outpost is not difficult to understand. 

There had been frequent incidents and much dis- 
cussion on both sides concerning the question of 
re-provisioning, as a result of which Prince Nicholas 
was constrained to write to General Hassapdjieff, 
under date of 4th March, that " our incontestable 
right to priority of occupation in the district of 
Nigrita prevents our allowing the Governor of 
Serres to interfere in the administration of these 
localities," and requests him to " give orders to cease 
the dispatch of Bulgarian troops into territory occu- 
pied and administered by us," which " may give rise 
to incidents which I should be the first to deplore, 
but for w^hich I absolutely decline all responsibility." 
He adds that the Greek authorities have already 
assured the Bulgarian representatives that "no 
difficulty will be opposed to the transport of their 
post, or the re-victualling of their troops, provided 
that same is undertaken in a rational manner, and 
not as was done at Subozko." 

The Bulgarians had, however, determined to 
seize Nigrita, and, by an unhappy chance, they 
chose the very day upon which the heart of the 
Hellas was palpitating with joy at the victory over 



206 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

the Crescent at Janina on which to turn their cannon 
against their friends and alhes. " My indignation 
and my sadness," writes Prince Nicholas to Hassap- 
djieff, " are so great that it is impossible for me to 
describe my feelings, but I must utter a loud cry 
of protest against the attitude and conduct of those 
who are responsible for this act, which is without 
parallel in the history of nations." 

It was, in effect, during the morning of 5th March 
that the Greek Commander at Nigrita learned of the 
approach of Bulgarian troops, who, upon their arrival, 
took up a position outside the town and opened fire. 
The hostile forces numbered 868 rifles, 66 sabres, 
2 cannons, and 2 maxims. The Greeks had 807 
rifles (only 507 of which took part in the combat), 
and were unsupported by cavalry or artillery. The 
company of Bulgarian soldiers in the town simul- 
taneously attacked the Hellenes, but were speedily 
overpowered. The onslaught was so unexpected 
that the Greeks had no time in which to make 
adequate preparations, but they resisted their enemy 
during the whole of the day, with a loss of fourteen 
killed and twenty-six wounded. 

The next day the Bulgarians, reinforced by two 
additional cannon, renewed the attack, but the 
defenders again held their positions. A third day 
the battle continued with a successful counter attack 
by the Greeks on the positions towards the village 
of Phytoki, and, with the arrival of reinforcements, 
the fighting ceased. The Bulgarian attempt to 
seize Nigrita had, however, failed, and two days 
later they began their retreat. 

Needless to say, an incident of a nature so grave 



GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE 207 

as that of Nigrita gave rise to a considerable inter- 
change of notes between the respective miHtary 
chiefs. While there does not appear to have been 
any attempt on the part of the Bulgarians to justify 
their action, the local Greek Commandant was in- 
formed that General Hassapdjieff had been requested 
to arrange with Prince Nicholas for the dispatch 
upon the scene of a mixed commission, with a view 
to bringing about a cessation of hostihties, and after 
some delay peace was once again established. The 
situation had, however, been so obviously serious 
that it led to an exchange of views between Athens 
and Sofia, and Mr Venezelos ultimately proposed 
the nomination of a mixed commission for the settle- 
ment of all questions in suspense between the two 
allies. There was, it is advisable to add, not the 
slightest hope that an accord would be thereby 
reached, but it was recognised that the mere fact 
of the existence of a commission would tend to delay 
the prevailing and dangerous excitement. 

Almost simultaneously it was decided that the 
claims of priority of occupation should be submitted 
to a mixed commission, which was also to be charged 
with the delimitation of a temporary zone frontier. 
Here again there was little chance of agreement, 
for whatever might have been the idea in Europe 
on the subject of the partition of Macedonia, both 
the parties actually concerned were actuated by 
Macmahon's famous precept: /'y suis! fy reste. 

These abortive discussions continued intermit- 
tently until loth May, when the respective delegates, 
realising that a continuation of the sittings would 
be unlikely to serve any useful purpose, agreed to 



208 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

disagree. Whereas, in order to ensure a satisfactory 
termination to their labours, it would have been 
necessary for both parties to have entered upon the 
discussion without any parti pris, the mutual and 
evident line of action had been to fix upon the 
desired ultimate frontier, and to make use of every 
argument, good, bad, or indifferent, to support the 
claims advanced. Thus the Bulgarians attempted 
to substantiate an unchallenged descent to the 
Langazar and Besik Lakes, and the Greeks strove 
to theoretically push their rivals back to the Struma 
River. The Bulgarian plan found expression in a 
disinclination to discuss any question of priority of 
occupation north and north-east of Salonika, regard- 
less of the fact that the Greek skirmishes with 
the Turks at Nigrita coincided with the Bulgarian 
combat with the common enemy at Demir Hissar. 
The Hellenes, on the other hand, based their claims 
on actual prior penetration into individual villages. 
The theories which suited one line of argument were 
therefore challenged by diametrically opposed con- 
siderations from the other. There had been, more- 
over, a tendency to put forward pretensions of a 
highly fantastic nature, and the Bulgarians' claim to 
have theoretically occupied Subozko by an advance 
guard of eighty irregulars, who had wandered a hun- 
dred miles from their main column through a hostile 
country, admittedly bordered on the ludicrous. 

This and other similar arguments were probably 
advanced in preparation for the anticipated bargain- 
ing, which is apparently as inseparable from Orien- 
tal diplomacy as from Eastern commerce. This 
became increasingly evident when the Bulgarians 



GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE 209 

attempted to exchange their pretensions to Subozko 
for the Greek claims on Nigrita — a proposal which 
was not unnaturally met by a polite refusal, coupled 
with an advice that suggestions of such a nature 
merely entailed a repetition of oft-repeated Greek 
arguments. Thus the only practical agreement 
reached by the commission was that further negotia- 
tions were obviously hopeless. The crux of the 
question lay in the fact that both sides realised that 
there was too great a risk that a permanent character 
would subsequently be attributed to any temporary 
concessions intended to alleviate the then exist- 
ing tension, and contemporary events combined to 
demonstrate that the parties concerned reposed more 
faith in the efficiency of army divisions than in the 
persuasive eloquence of their soldier-diplomats. 

In the meantime, a tragic sequel to the combat 
at Nigrita served to further embitter Greco-Bulgarian 
relations. As the beaten Bulgars retired from 
Nigrita they passed through the village of Dimit- 
ritsi, from whence they carried off eight of the prin- 
cipal citizens. Circumstantial reports soon arrived 
to the effect that these unfortunates had been rudely 
done to death, and Prince Nicholas thereupon re- 
quested their liberation (15th March). To this 
request. General Hassapdjieff replied on 21st March 
that an order had been given to release "the priest 
Dimitri, the schoolmaster Kapetanos, and the six 
other inhabitants of Dimitritsi arrested by our military 
authorities." Distressed at the non-execution of this 
promise, Prince Nicholas reiterated his request on 
31st March. General Hassapdjieff was spared the 
necessity for further temporising with ugly facts, for 

o 



210 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

on 7th, 13th, and 15th April respectively, the Struma 
River solved the riddle of the fate of the missing 
peasants by washing up their dead bodies, all bearing 
indisputable signs that the unhappy victims had been 
bayoneted to death. Had these men been killed 
in the fighting, it is obvious that they would have 
borne gun-shot wounds, and have been either left on 
the battle-field or buried there. To calculate what 
actually happened to them requires but little imagin- 
ation ; they were undoubtedly arrested, marched one 
and a half hours distant to the bridge, there bayoneted 
(the body of Kapetanos bore five wounds) and thrown 
into the river. But for the providential washing up 
of their dead bodies by the waters of the Struma, the 
truth of this dastardly deed would ever have been 
hidden from the world. 

Despite the continued sitting of the mixed com- 
mission, there now followed a period of mutual 
recrimination. Scarce a day passed without its 
complaint of aggression from one side or the other, 
and while it is as impossible as it is unnecessary to 
investigate every individual case, there exists one 
exchange of correspondence which at once indicates 
generally and fairly the rival claims, and the ability 
of the respective chiefs of the two armies to conduct 
their case. 

Writing under date of 4th April, General Hassap- 
djiefT repeats his assertion that the Bulgarian army, 
" having driven out the enemy " (i.e. Turks), had 
occupied all the territory lying north and north-east 
of Salonika, as from the month of October. He 
then proceeds to assert that while the Bulgarian 
army, "which had been called upon to bear the 



GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE 211 

heaviest burden of the war," was engaged in what 
he modestly describes as its " admirable and glorious 
effort to overwhelm our common enemy before Adri- 
anople, Tchataldja, and Bulair," Greek troops had 
" systematically ' filtered ' into the regions watered 
by the blood of our valiant brothers." He claims 
further that " they (the Hellenes) have driven our 
weak detachments from the region of Nigrita and 
the majority of the villages around Pravista, and 
at the present moment are carrying out their pene- 
tration in the district of Langazar, and are endeavour- 
ing to advance towards Drama and Kilkich." 

This system appeared to the General to be " full 
of danger and increasingly useless, since it cannot, 
in any case, serve as the basis of a claim to priority 
of occupation in the regions which have been for 
a considerable time occupied by our troops." He 
therefore again beseeches the Prince " to retire all 
the Greek troops recently sent into our territory, and 
to reinstate the Bulgarian detachment at Nigrita." 

The imputations contained in this letter would 
have been, in any case, unpleasant enough, but, 
under the existing circumstances, they were calcu- 
lated to arouse considerable annoyance. Moreover, 
the Bulgarian claim to priority of occupation in all 
the country lying to the north and north-east of 
Salonika was categorically laid down, and its im- 
mediate refutation was therefore essential. 

In his reply. Prince Nicholas protests against the 
offensive insinuations, denies the pretended Bul- 
garian rights over Nigrita and the Panghaion, and 
draws the attention of General Hassapdjieff to some 
instances where his own army has been guilty of 



212 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

the actions which he deplores in the Greeks. Finally, 
he agrees to the suggested cessation of military 
movement in a paragraph which, nevertheless, leaves 
matters exactly where they were before. This, I 
may add, is diplomacy. I give a translation of the 
most salient portions of His Royal Highness's letter 
in extenso : 

" Before examining the accusations made in 
your letter, permit me to observe that the question 
of the contested rights of priority of occupation 
and administration has already given rise to 
lengthy discussions between us, the result of which 
is the agreement arrived at between our two 
Governments that a mixed commission shall be 
nominated with the object of settling the differ- 
ences which exist between us on certain points. 
In view of this, it seems to me unnecessary to 
recommence a discussion concerning what we 
consider our indisputable right of priority of occu- 
pation of certain regions. 

" I regret to find myself obliged to refer to the 
phrase in which you make absolutely unmerited 
accusations against the Hellenic troops, and which 
I can only consider a grave offence — not to say 
insult — to the whole of our army. You accuse us 
of having systematically ' filtered ' into the terri- 
tories lying behind your army at a moment when 
the latter was making admirable and glorious 
efforts to overwhelm our formidable and common 
enemy before Adrianople, Tchataldja, and Bou- 
lair. In other words you infer that, while the 
Bulgarian army was shedding its blood for our 



GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE 218 

common cause, Greek troops, profiting by its 
absence, and having no more fighting to do them- 
selves, penetrated behind the aUied army, gave 
themselves over to brigandage and robbery, and 
stole from it that which it had already acquired. 
You must admit that the most elemental courtesy 
between brothers-in-arms should have led you to 
make insinuations less offensive than these. 

" I am compelled to protest in the most ener- 
getic manner against this accusation, which, more- 
over, cannot be supported by a single fact. There 
exists no region or village into which the Greek 
army has penetrated as a result of the weakness 
or absence of Bulgarian forces ; and I can further 
assure you that not a single drop of blood has 
been shed by the Bulgarian army in the taking of 
any of the territory v/hich is to-day occupied by 
Hellenic troops. Thus, although you state in 
your letter that your troops occupied all the 
country lying to the east and north-east of Salonika 
(Nigrita and Panghaion) after driving out the 
enemy's forces, I can prove to you not only 
that it was actually our soldiers who there fought 
against the common enemy, and drove them out 
from the above-mentioned territory, but that your 
troops found it completely free from hostile forces 
on the occasion of their advance towards the south. 

" You accuse me, in addition, of having driven 
your feeble detachments from Nigrita and Tsai- 
gesi. I challenge this as a fallacious and unjust 
assertion, for the established fact is that Bulgarian 
troops were the first to attempt to seize Nigrita 
by force, and to hinder our customs authorities 



214 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

at Tsaigesi in the execution of their duty. You 
seem to have very speedily forgotten the incident 
at kilometre 14, as also that at AnatoHn, where 
the Bulgarian army, profiting by the weakness of 
our detachment, arrested and disarmed it, and 
transported our soldiers to Poroy, where, I may 
add, they were left for forty-eight hours without 
food or water. 

" Since that date the Greek troops have not pro- 
ceeded to occupy any villages situated outside of 
the zone of which they have been in possession 
since the month of October. So far as concerns the 
disembarkations of which you speak, and which, 
as you correctly state, continue to-day, these have 
no new conquest for their object, but are simply 
intended to relieve certain detachments or to 
reinforce others, a necessity which has naturally 
been brought about by the provocative and hostile 
manifestations made by the Bulgarian detach- 
ments at Nigrita, Tsaigesi, and Panghaion.^ Here 
there has been a consistent attempt to penetrate 
into territory conquered by us from the Turks. 
If you assert that the occupation of a district after 
an engagement with the enemy is ' filtering,' what 
may you be disposed to call the clandestine entry 
of Bulgarian soldiers into the villages situated to 
the north of Yenidje-Vardar as far as Gumendze, 
and also at Subozko.'' These are districts occu- 

' The letter written by General Savoff to the Bulg^arian Prima 
Minister on 6th May, and which is reported as a footnote to pag^ 
370, clearly demonstrates that the Bulgarian army was deter- 
mined to pick a quarrel with the Greeks, of which we may 
pr©«um» that the incidents in the Panghaion w«re an outcoma. 



GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE 215 

pied by us immediately after our sanguinary 
victory at Yenidje-Vardar. 

" I repeat that no movement has been operated 
beyond the zone which we have occupied either 
in the direction of Kilkich or Drama, for our 
detachments have never ceased to receive strict 
orders not to cross the hne in question. So far 
as Langazar is concerned, I am at a loss to under- 
stand how you can characterise a permanent occu- 
pation of this district, dating from the month of 
October, as ' filtering.' 

" I am willing to order a cessation of the dis- 
patch of reinforcements, but on the condition that 
this action is reciprocated by you. It must be 
understood, however, that I cannot assume such 
obligations with respect to all the districts which 
you consider are yours, and which we, on our 
part, claim to have been occupied by us. In the 
same manner I shall consider that you have the 
right of free movement of your troops in regions 
in which your occupation cannot be contested." 

Panghaion. — A comparative calm followed the 
storm at Nigrita until the month of May, 191 3, when 
a series of very disconcerting incidents transpired 
in the Panghaion region lying between Orfano and 
Kavala. The raison d'etre was the everlasting 
question of " filtration." The district had been first 
occupied by the Greeks, and when the Bulgarians 
subsequently descended they placed their outposts 
in close contact with those of their allies, thus sowing 
the seed of future friction. The Greek occupation 
of this territory was additionally distasteful to the 



216 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Bulgars, because even had the Hellenes been ulti- 
mately prepared to evacuate it, they would obviously 
have demanded compensation elsewhere — perhaps 
at Langazar — and they accordingly manifested a 
determination to seize the country by force and 
negotiate about it afterwards. They were actuated, 
in short, by the same idea as had governed their 
tactics at Nigrita, and which, at a later date, led them 
to inaugurate the " War of the Allies." A Bulgarian 
threat to seize Paliohora led to the strengthening 
of the Greek outposts and to the issue of an order 
to the effect that any advance on that town by way 
of Portos was to be resisted. When, therefore, 
during the night of 4th-5th May, a company of 
Bulgars pushed their way towards Paliohora, they 
were forthwith attacked and captured. On 8th and 
9th May a Bulgarian desire to seize a bridge at 
Vulcista also led to skirmishes in that locality. The 
following day an engagement of a much more serious 
nature took place over the whole front from Tovlyani 
to Leftera, when the Greek casualties amounted to 
thirty killed and forty-three wounded. 

This dispute, however, was not without its saving 
grace, for a military commission was at once ap- 
pointed, and a frontier line between the two armies 
verbally agreed upon. The temporary cessation of 
aggression which followed does not, unfortunately, 
appear to have in any way altered the determination 
of the Bulgarians to make themselves masters of the 
region, for further and more sanguinary incidents 
followed upon the arrival of reinforcements. Then, 
entirely disregarding the boundaries of the agreed- 
upon frontier, they commenced an advance along 



GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE 217 

the road to Vulcista during the night of 19th- 
20th May. The Greeks, though in greaUy inferior 
force, opposed this movement, and for two days 
fighting of a most determined nature continued 
between Vulcista and Kolcak. Cannon were em- 
ployed by both sides, and the casuahies were so 
heavy that a hospital ship was necessarily dispatched 
to Tsaigesi to evacuate the Greek wounded. The 
Hellenes then moved up a regiment of infantry and 
a battery of artillery to strengthen the two regiments 
which had thus far borne the brunt of the defence, 
but the army was, nevertheless, driven back towards 
Semaltos. On 23rd May the units retreated on 
Provista, and the troops were ordered to as far as 
possible avoid a further effusion of blood until the 
results of the diplomatic representations which had 
been made at Sofia transpired. During the three 
subsequent days there were skirmishes of an insigni- 
ficant nature: a Bulgarian column advanced down 
the Ilidze Valley to Mustenia (thus threatening the 
communications of the Greek detachment at Leftera 
with their base at Tsaigesi) and various points of 
strategical importance were arbitrarily seized. 

Doubtless as a result of the protests of the Greek 
Government and of the representations made at 
Sofia by more than one European monarch, the 
Bulgarian armed " filtration " ceased on 30th May, 
and the following day the Greek Governor of Leftera 
was informed that " the movements of the Bulgarian 
army were due only to the necessity of altering their 
front," and that they "had no intention of making 
any further advance." Little enough reason, one is 
tempted to add, for the maiming of hundreds of 



218 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

humans. The Hellenes who had been taken 
prisoners during the combats were marched to 
Serres and there delivered to the hardships of 
the " corvee," in striking contrast to the treatment 
accorded to the Bulgars captured at Nigrita, who 
were liberated immediately upon the cessation of 
hostilities. 

The seriousness of the events in the Panghaion 
was undeniable, and they brought both King Con- 
stantine and Mr Venezelos hot haste to Salonika. 
Both sides now realised the urgent necessity of fixing 
a neutral zone between the two armies, and Mr 
Sarafoff having arrived as a delegate from the Bul- 
garian Government, conversations took place between 
the two statesmen. The Greek Premier desired 
then and there to settle the whole question of the 
partition of the conquered territories. He con- 
sidered, he told me, that it would be an untold 
disgrace if, after successful co-operation against a 
common enemy, the allies were now to engage in 
fratricidal warfare, and he felt it desirable that, as 
peace with Turkey had then been signed, the states- 
men should sit around a table and regulate their 
differences uninfluenced by the ultra-chauvinists of 
their respective countries. " If," he added, " agree- 
ment be found impossible, the solution of the diffi- 
culty must be referred to arbitration." 

These views Mr Venezelos expressed very clearly 
to Mr Sarafoff, who replied in a similar vein. 
To General Ivanoff and Colonel (now General) 
Dousmanis was set the task of drawing up anew 
a frontier between the two armies. Like its prede- 
cessor, it was foredoomed to speedy violation, but it 



GRECO-BULGARIAN WRANGLE 219 

appeared probable at the time that the four 
premiers would proceed to St Petersburg without 
delay, and the chief object of the contracting parties 
was to peacefully bridge over the intervening 
period. 



CHAPTER XX 

THE LAST DAYS OF KING GEORGE OF GREECE 

When the biography of the late King of the Hellenes 
comes to be divided into chapters, the most glorious 
and happy will be that opening with his triumphal 
progress through the streets of Salonika one drench- 
ing November morn, and ending with that tragic 
moment on Tuesday, i8th March, 191 3, when an 
assassin's bullet brought to a close a notable reign. 

His was a noble life, full of incident, pathos and 
joy ; his a kingship which founded a dynasty and saw 
a nation fashioned neath its dais ; his a monarchy 
now the victim of immature statesmanship, then the 
butt of political intrigue ; his a martyr's death suffered 
for the cause he held more dear than life itself. Of 
all this much will be written, but I rather wish to 
tell of the King as I knew him, as we knew him, 
during this happiest period of his sovereignty. 

When on ist November, 191 2, King George's 
charger pranced over the badly laid granite pavings 
of Salonika's streets, the monarch's imagination must 
have been fired as he entered, conqueror, into that 
town where on every hand rise memories of the 
old Greek domination which nearly five centuries 
ago gave place to Turkish rule. What sad, solemn 
memories those five hundred years! The Cross 
trampled 'neath the heel of the Crescent ; the nation 

220 







o -S 

^.2 




—I 6C 






o - 



KING GEORGE OF GREECE 221 

shattered and then re-moulded ; the people enslaved 
and then re-liberated. This was no victorious army 
marching into a foreign citadel ; this no mercen- 
ary rabble overrunning an aHen land. It was but a 
chastened exile returning to his home ; the actual 
realisation of a vision that every infant Hellene had 
learned to dream at his mother's knee. 

And I thought, as I looked down upon that kingly 
figure that made his royal progress through the rain- 
soaked throng, what a day of days for him! At 
such times as that, when emotion plays havoc with 
the heart, the panorama of history rushes inevitably 
before the eye. What must it have meant for that 
King, who for fifty years had striven midst ignorance, 
midst party passion and midst wild, uncontrolled 
chauvinism, to break down the barriers of prejudice 
and lift his people to a higher ideal of citizenship, 
to lead them back victorious into their own land. 

From the hour of his arrival, King George took 
a very special interest in Salonika, losing no time in 
studying its antiquities, its commerce and its indus- 
try. He led, as in his own capital, a simple, unosten- 
tatious life, and demonstrated so kindly a solicitude 
for the welfare of the population as quickly enthroned 
him in the hearts of the people. 

He was a great patriot. To him, alien though he 
was, the prosperity and progress of Greece was his 
chief concern. He had no love for the etiquette of 
Court Hfe. A simple democrat, he wished always 
to mingle with his people, be over them, and yet of 
them. His outward simplicity was but the demon- 
stration of his inward sentiment. 

Every morning found him, from an early hour, 



222 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

occupied with his voluminous correspondence and 
affairs of State. While he never presumed upon 
the limitations of a constitutional monarch, King 
George took a great interest in the political posi- 
tion of his country. His tremendous experience, 
his intimate knowledge of European diplomacy, his 
personal acquaintance with rulers and statesmen 
alike, rendered him most competent to advise his 
ministers, and it might be said that Greek diplomacy 
was successful in such degree as it heeded the 
councils of the chief of the State. During his 
residence in Salonika he was in constant communi- 
cation with his Government, and closely followed 
each move in the complicated poHtical game in 
the Balkans. He was an assiduous student of the 
European Press, and kept intimately in touch with 
contemporary thought. 

Correspondence and State business once finished, 
His Majesty devoted the rest of the forenoon to the 
reception, in audience, of various officials and foreign 
visitors. He had a remarkable facility for putting 
those whom he honoured immediately at their ease, 
his personal magnetism being greatly aided by his 
ability to converse in most European languages, 
and an intimate knowledge of almost every possible 
subject of discussion. 

My first interview with the late King of the 
Hellenes was on 9th December, 191 2. A plain, 
sincere EngHsh welcome awaited me. 

" This is not to be a formal interview ; sit down, 
and let us talk." 

The King opened with a few leading questions, 
the while I noted my own impressions. I found 



KING GEORGE OF GREECE 22S 

myself face to face with a stately gentleman in 
General's field uniform, who bore his sixty-seven 
years but lightly. A kindly, genial face radiated 
enthusiasm when he talked of his beloved Greece. 
His Majesty knew at once the topics which would 
interest me. England, Queen Alexandra (his sister), 
British statesmen, Balkan politics — all had their 
turn. King George gave me his impressions of the 
British Foreign Ministers he had met during his 
fifty years' reign, alternately admiring the strength 
of some and criticising the weakness of others. He 
knew well that the peace of Europe would be 
seriously endangered as a result of the Balkan War, 
and he anxiously awaited the appearance of a states- 
man sufficiently strong to grapple with the situation 
and bring the concert to a harmonious conclusion. 
What he feared most of all was an indefinite patch- 
work settlement which would usher in an era of 
strife and anxiety of long duration. 

King George had no doubt as to the unanswer- 
able nature of the Hellenic claim to Salonika. 
Historically, geographically, ethnologically, he con- 
sidered it Greek, and he held up the right of conquest 
as not the least important of his many arguments. 
He was at this time very anxious to return to 
Athens, but despite the many inconveniences which 
life in the Macedonian capital imposed upon him, 
he refused to quit his post. 

" I feel it my duty," he told me, " to stay here, lest 
my departure be interpreted as a weakening of our 
determination to remain. I do not intend to leave 
Salonika until its annexation by Greece is assured." 

Poor King George! He indeed departed thence 



224 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

before he willed, but who shall say that the manner 
of his going had not accomplished that which he 
wished far more surely than his staying? Did he 
not seal the fate of Salonika with his life's blood? 

The King was very strongly opposed to the con- 
clusion of the first armistice with Turkey. Even at 
that early date he foresaw, in some measure, the 
inevitable and fatal result. 

" Mark well what I tell you," he said. " This 
cessation of hostilities will enable the Turks to pull 
themselves together; they will hurry fresh troops 
from Asia Minor, and the conclusion of peace will 
be set back indefinitely. If the Bulgarians feel that 
they cannot carry on without assistance, we are 
prepared to send 60,000 men to their aid, effect 
a landing on the northern shores of the Gallipoli 
Peninsula, attack the forts from the rear, force the 
Dardanelles and send the fleet up to Constantinople." 

Bulgaria, however, declined this help, with what 
unfortunate result all the world now knows. 

Luncheon was the occasion of the family reunion. 
Day by day all the members of His Majesty's family 
assembled at the kingly table for the midday meal, 
to which ofttimes guests were likewise invited. It 
was my privilege to be so honoured exactly seven 
days before the monarch fell victim to the assassin's 
bullet. At the head of his table. King George was 
the personification of kindness and good humour. 
His conversation was a continuous flow of merriment 
and wit. An incident which happened on this 
occasion has now a melancholy significance. The 
first plat was oysters, a dish which locally has a 
deservedly unhealthy reputation. The memory of 



KING GEORGE OF GREECE 225 

friends dead from oyster-eating pardoned the liberty 
I took in begging His Majesty to refrain my par- 
taking of the unhealthy dish. 

"Well," said the King, "if you think they are 
risky, I will not eat them, for I have no desire to die 
just as I have reached the happiest period of my 
reign." 

Then but a passing pleasantry, it became invested 
with a tragic significance one short week later when 
the life he had wished to live had been so cruelly 
cut down. 

Luncheon over, His Majesty proceeded to the 
smoking-room, and then again demonstrated his 
never-failing consideration for those he honoured. 
Handing me a cigar, he said : 

" You'll like this, it is one of the cigars of your 
late Sovereign, Edward VH." 

As we smoked, I was privileged to hold a further 
long conversation with the King. Again the deep 
concern for the welfare of Greece ; again the whole- 
souled enthusiasm for his adopted country. Nothing 
annoyed him so much as the studied attempt made in 
some quarters to belittle the assistance the Hellenes 
had rendered to the alliance during the war. 

No record of King George's last days would be 
complete without a reference to the fall of Janina. 
To the thoughtfulness of Prince Nicholas I had been 
indebted for early acquaintance with the news, and 
the day was still young when I set out for the Royal 
residence, to inscribe my name and congratulations 
in the King's book. Ere I had yet accomplished 
that agreeable duty, the door opened and the 
King himself summoned me within. Then I saw 

P 



22G THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

a monarch in threefold guise. Now the father 
glorying in the exploits of his son ; again the ruler 
lauding the bravery of his people ; but through it all 
the devout Christian praising God for the blessing 
that had been vouchsafed to his country. For half 
an hour the King unburdened his soul to me. 
Janina, the impregnable fortress, had been captured. 
The impossible of military critics had been accom- 
plished. 

" This," said His Majesty to me, " is the proudest 
moment of my life. You cannot think what this 
event means to me and to Greece. For fifty years I 
have striven to unite the dynasty to the people, and 
the taking of Janina has completed the work. Tied 
at last are those tongues which still dared wag of 
'97 ; silenced for ever are those lips which prattled 
on of a Greek promenade to Salonika. Who now 
can suggest that we have not the right to annex this 
/Egean town ? " 

King George, never old, became thenceforth 
rejuvenated, and he guarded that regained youth till 
he laid down his earthly sceptre and entered the 
Heavenly Kingdom. 

George I. was an inveterate pedestrian. An 
enthusiastic lover of nature — of which, be it admitted, 
there are few enough examples in Salonika — he 
devoted every afternoon to a health-giving promen- 
ade. " On his walks to the forts at little Karaburun 
or the famous White Tower by the water-side, he 
was accompanied by a single equerry, except on 
such occasions as his fourth son. Prince Andrew, 
joined the little company. The unwisdom of this 
course w^as a source of considerable anxiety to his 



KING GEORGE OF GREECE 227 

entourage, who were well aware of the dangers 
arising from this unguarded frequenting of crowded 
thoroughfares at a time when racial feeling ran high. 
But the King would have none of it. He had 
implicit confidence in the people he loved. In the 
main, he was justified, for during his short sojourn 
the entire population — Greeks, Jews and Turks — 
had learned to reciprocate his affection. Neverthe- 
less, the risk from individual fanaticism was great. 
On one occasion four Cretan gendarmes were ordered 
to follow in his wake. Their characteristic tread, 
however, betrayed their presence to the Sovereign, 
who ordered their immediate retreat. Plenceforth, 
he was followed only by two gendarmes at long 
distance. 

On the fatal afternoon His Majesty had walked 
to the White Tower. There he rested a while and 
listened to the military band, finding time to accept 
a simple bouquet from a poor Mussulman, where- 
upon he remarked to his equerry: 

" See what kindly hearts there are among these 
Turks." 

Nearly half-way between the White Tower and 
the Palace there is a little side street which runs to 
the sea. At the corner is a large stone, and that 
afternoon there sat upon the stone one Alexander 
Shinas, a good-for-nothing Greek of feeble intellect 
whom sickness and want had made fruitful soil for 
the assimilation of anarchist doctrines. Shinas had 
determined to die, but before so doing had decided 
to kill the King of Greece. He had no reason other 
than that his world was out of joint. As King 
George passed this point Shinas rose, levelled a 



228 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

revolver and fired a ball which pierced the monarch's 
heart, thus cruelly ending a reign which had been 
one long story of goodness and well-doing. It was 
an act as cowardly as it was unjustifiable, for the 
assassin rendered a brutal act more dastardly by 
attacking his defenceless victim from behind. Like 
a flash the equerry. Colonel Frangoudis, swung 
round and seized the hand of the murderer already 
poised for the second shot. Bravely covering the 
weapon with his own body, he grabbed the felon by 
the throat and handed him, powerless, to the soldiers 
who ran to his assistance. But the first bullet had 
found its billet, and the King had sunk to earth. 
Quickly placed in a passing cab, His Majesty 
seeminelv continued to breathe for a few minutes; 
but long ere the hospital could be reached the light 
had failed, and the first ruler of modern Greece had 
gone to his Maker. That night the Royal corpse 
was sorrow^fully carried back to his Salonicien home, 
and a week later made its last promenade to the 
water-side, where the remains were embarked for the 
Greece he loved so well and served so faithfully. 

King George had no premonition of death ; but it 
is a strange coincidence that during the whole of 
his last day upon earth he talked unceasingly of the 
glorious incidents which had crowned his fifty years' 
reign. At luncheon, as during the fatal promenade, 
he referred repeatedly to the joy which the exploits 
of his army, and the recapture of Salonika and 
Janina, had given him ; of the regeneration of Hellas ; 
of the valour of his son and of his people. His last 
words were a reference to his satisfaction that on the 
morrow he was to pay an official visit to the German 



KING GEORGE OF GREECE 229 

dreadnought Goeben, when the Greek flag was to 
have been saluted in Salonika by the battleship of 
a great Power. 

In death, his face was illuminated by an expression 
of the happiness and contentment which pervaded 
his closing thoughts. 

On the morning of 25th March, 191 3, the remains 
of the late King were transferred to the Royal Yacht 
Amphitriie. A misty veil darkened the sun in the 
eastern sky, as if the heavens themselves mourned 
the loss of this beloved monarch who now set out upon 
his last earthly journey. It was a simple yet impos- 
ing cortege. International colour being lent by the 
presence of detachments of British, Russian and 
German bluejackets, in whose navies King George 
had held the rank of Admiral. Perhaps the most 
pathetic note of all was struck by a deputation of 
a hundred poor Mussulman refugees from the camp 
outside the town. The deceased ruler had mani- 
fested considerable interest in the lot of these unfor- 
tunate outcasts, paying frequent visits to their camp, 
and satisfying himself that everything possible was 
being done to improve their condition and lighten 
their sorrow. It was fitting, therefore, that they 
should have demanded permission to pay a last token 
of respect to him who had done so much for them. 

The coflin and the Royal mourners once aboard, 
the International fleet weighed anchor, and the 
Amphitrite took her place between the two lines of 
battleships — British, Italian, and Russian to the left, 
German, French, and Austrian to the right. Few 
onlookers could fail to have been impressed with 
the spiritual fitness of Nature's tribute as the Royal 



280 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

yacht, with its sorrowful burden and imposing escort, 
rode out across the placid waters of the gulf and 
disappeared, phantom-like, into the mist. 

So passed a good King, an adored ruler, a beloved 
parent, and a perfect gentleman. 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE SERBO-GRECIAN ALLIANCE 

It is unnecessary to repeat the various incidents 
which had come thick and fast to trouble Greco- 
Bulgarian relations, and which have received ade- 
quate attention in a preceding chapter. More dis- 
turbing than their deeds, however, were Bulgarian 
words. No opportunity was neglected of impressing 
upon the Greeks that their occupation of vSalonika 
was but temporary, and that they would either volun- 
tarily retire, or be forcibly thrown south of the 
Vistrica River. This information was conveyed in 
a manner often impolite, sometimes sarcastic, and 
generally arrogant. The Bulgars, who had every- 
thing to lose and nothing to gain by it, refused to 
entertain the idea of partition on the basis of priority 
of occupation. A newly arrived official from Sofia 
thus explained to me the point of view of his 
Government : 

" Three things must govern any partition of the 
conquered territory, viz., 

(a) Geographical considerations 

(b) Losses during the war 

(r) Ethnological considerations."' 

Thus Serres and Drama were to be annexed 

231 



232 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

because their geographical proximity to Bulgaria 
rendered any other suggestion illogical ; Salonika 
was to be taken because Bulgaria had suffered the 
heaviest losses during the war ; and the Kastoria 
region, being ethnologically Bulgarian, was destined 
to form, ipso facto, a part of greater Bulgaria. 

The application of ethnological and geographical 
principles to the partition of Macedonia, or to its 
division into spheres of influence, can be used with 
telling effect both by Greek or Bulgar, if they are 
but permitted to decide where one and the other 
shall be applied. We have seen above how elo- 
quently they were used to serve Bulgarian aims ; but 
if the position is reversed, and Kastoria is adjudged 
on a geographical, and Serres and Drama upon an 
ethnological basis, both these districts must needs 
be accorded to Greece. The arguments which can 
be advanced are so conflicting, and yet, in their 
individual way, so just, that an accord based on 
their joint consideration would have been impossible. 
The ethnological principle not only inevitably opened 
up the thorny Macedonian question in its entirety, 
but, since some 350,000 Greeks in Thrace were 
destined to enter the Bulgarian fold, its introduction 
might well have been considered irrelevant. 

While Greece and Bulgaria were busily realising 
their true sentiments towards one another, the re- 
lations between Servia and Bulgaria had likewise 
been undergoing considerable alteration. If the 
chief object of Bulgaria in entering the Balkan 
alliance was to secure control of Macedonia, the 
driving force behind all Servian action was a desire 
to gain an outlet to the «ea^ and secure a port on 




U.K. 11. PRINCE ALEXANDER OF SERVIA. 

Tlioupli 1)111 twenty-four years of age, Alexander, Crown Prince of Sen-ia, is 
a lirilliant soldier and possesses an inlimate liiioAvledgeof European politics. 
A cliarniing pei-sonality, he will make an ideal ruler of his gallant people. 



THE SERBO-GRECIAN ALLIANCE 233 

the Adriatic. On the reaHsation of that ideal all 
the national hopes were founded. It meant freedom 
from the thrall of Austria, deliverance from isolation 
by neighbouring — and possibly hostile — states, and 
the end of commercial dependence upon Austria and 
Turkey. After a march over the Albanian Moun- 
tains, which constituted one of the most notable 
military feats of the whole war, the Servian tricolour 
was planted at Durazzo, and then Austria, the 
hereditary enemy of the Serbs, rose up and launched 
her demand for an independent Albania, which was 
to deprive Servia of her hardly won territory. The 
Serbo-Bulgarian Treaty had foreseen neither the 
creation of an Albanian state nor the conquest of 
Thrace. It dealt exclusively with Macedonia and 
the Austrian peril. 

Servia then saw herself, despite the great sacri- 
fices she had been called upon to make, destined 
to be the only one of the allies to reap an inadequate 
harvest from the war. True, according to the treaty 
with Bulgaria, she would have gained a slight iacrease 
of territory, but both her neighbours would have 
become proportionately stronger, and this, in the 
case of Bulgaria, might have entailed national anni- 
hilation — for the memories of Slivnitza had not 
been forgotten. Further, whereas she had previously 
been separated from the i^gean only by complacent 
and easy-going Turkey, both Bulgaria and Greece 
now blocked her road to Salonika. 

Small wonder then that the Serbs began to feel 
that the conditions under which their alliance with 
Bulgaria was concluded had been radically altered, 
and upon subjecting to analysis the terms of the 



284 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

treaty and the military convention annexed thereto 
they found : 

1. That at the moment when Servia was 
threatened by Austria, Bulgaria was unable to 
supply the 200,000 men whom she had promised 
under the treaty. 

2. That instead of an army of 100,000 Bulgaria 
had sent but 20,000 to their aid against Turkey, 
and that even this small force had abandoned the 
Servian army after three days of warfare and 
had then set off on its unchallenged march to 
Salonika. 

3. That, conversely, Servia had supplied an 
army of 50,000 to assist the Bulgarians before 
Adrianople, although such assistance was not called 
for either by the treaty or the military convention. 

4. That Bulgaria refused to sign a peace with 
Turkey in December, 191 2, solely in her own 
interest, and had thereby obliged Servia to main- 
tain nearly 400,000 men in the field. 

5. That upon the recommencement of hostili- 
ties Servia had loaned to Bulgaria the siege guns 
without which the capture of Adrianople would 
have been impossible. 

6. That owing to the creation of Albania, the 
territory falling to them had been materially 
lessened. On the other hand, the action of 
Bulgaria in Thrace (a development not anticipated 
when the treaty was signed), had considerably 
increased the territorial expansion of their neigh- 
bour. Too great a disproportion of the forces of 
the Balkan States was to be condemned. Before 



THE SERBO-GRECIAN ALLIANCE 235 

the war, Servia comprised 48,000 square kilometres 
with 2,900,000 inhabitants, and Bulgaria 96,000 
square kilometres with 4,300,000 inhabitants. 
After the war, and without territorial compensa- 
tion, Servia would have had 68,000 square kilo- 
metres with 4,000,000 inhabitants, and Bulgaria 
172,000 square kilometres with 6,500,000 inhabi- 
tants. Given the compensation claimed, Servia 
would have stood with 83,000 square kilometres 
and 4,500,000 inhabitants, against Bulgaria with 
157,000 square kilometres and 6,000,000 inhabi- 
tants. 

The Serbs therefore speedily decided that national 
prestige and their responsibilities towards their heirs 
imposed upon them the necessity of retaining those 
other territories which they had conquered at so 
great a cost. Faced with the loss of Albania, it was 
politically unthinkable that they should consent to 
be hemmed in by Austria, Albania, Bulgaria and 
Greece ; deprived of their own port in the Adriatic, 
it became economically necessary that they should 
secure territorial proximity too, and commercial 
facilities at, Salonika. Once Bulgaria became a 
menace instead of a possible convenience to Servian 
national interests, the racial ties were automatically 
severed. Said a distinguished Balkan diplomat on 
one occasion : " La question de la race ne joue acun 
role lorsqu'il s'agit de I'interet d'un peuple." There- 
fore Servia demanded not the application but the 
revision of her treaty of alliance with Bulgaria, by 
reason of the changes wrought at the commence 
ment of and during the progress of the war. 



230 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

While yet the Peace Conference was sitting in 
London and while toasts and protestations of friend- 
ship were being exchanged in banqueting halls, 
Prince Nicholas, Military Governor of Salonika, 
became speedily convinced of the grave danger 
which threatened his country. He realised that both 
Greece and Servia had serious differences with 
Bulgaria, while as between themselves there were 
no points of dispute but what would speedily yield 
to diplomatic treatment. There existed, moreover, 
no apparent causes of future friction, and it was 
self-evident that the Greek occupation of Salonika 
would, in view of the facilities which could be 
accorded without inconvenience, be commercially 
agreeable to Servia and would to some extent com- 
pensate for the loss of Albania. 

It was in the course of a conversation with Prince 
Nicholas on ist December, 191 2, that the writer first 
learned that a consideration of the situation and its 
dangers had led His Royal Highness to the con- 
clusion that a compact would be arrived at between 
the tw^o states whereby Greece and Servia would 
agree to support their respective claims to Salonika 
and Monastir. The approval of the late King George 
having been obtained, Prince Nicholas was next 
confronted with the necessity of " sounding " the 
Servians — a matter of no little difficulty, and one 
demanding the exercise of considerable caution. 

While " ways and means " were still under dis- 
cussion, an intimation was received of an impending 
visit by the Servian Crown Prince on 23rd January. 
Prince Alexander's ostensible object was a voyage 
of inspection to Monastir; his real mission was to 



THE SERBO-GRECIAN ALLIANCE 287 

investigate the truth of a rumour, current in Bel- 
grade, that Greece had come to an understanding 
with Bulgaria whereby she should be left in 
unchallenged possession of Salonika in return for 
active assistance in forcing the Servians to evacuate 
Monastir. The opportunity presented would have 
been seized by a much less talented diplomat than 
the Greek Prince. Prince Alexander was speedily 
convinced of the inaccuracy of the disconcerting 
rumour, Prince Nicholas exposed his plan of a 
Greco-Servian understanding, and on that day the 
foundations of the aUiance between Greece, Servia 
and Montenegro were laid. 

It should be clearly understood that, at this time, 
the Governments took no part in the conversations. 
The Cabinets, both of Athens and Belgrade, were 
still under the spell of the projected Balkan Con- 
federation. Mr Venezelos remained true to his 
ideal, and Mr Pasitch was, as is generally known, 
a partisan of a close understanding with Bulgaria. 
Prince Alexander, however, had the backing of the 
Servian military party, who were determined to hold 
what they had won, while Prince Nicholas received 
the support of his father the late King, his brother 
the Duke of Sparta (then commanding the Greek 
forces in Epirus) and a small circle of confidants. 
Both princes were, moreover, convinced of the 
justice of their policy, and optimistic as to its 
ultimate realisation. 

Prince Alexander proceeded to Monastir, accom- 
panied by Mr Baloukditch, the former Servian 
Consul-General at Salonika, and a sharp partisan 
of the projected alliance, and the Servian Minister 



288 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

of Commerce. The presence of the Servian 
Minister was fortunate. The visit to Monastir 
determined his poHcy, and upon his return to 
Salonika he declared that Servia was prepared to 
fight Bulgaria but would never give up Monastir. 
On this occasion Prince Nicholas held an important 
conversation with Mr Baloukditch, and, as a result 
of same, addressed a report to his Government 
which ultimately became the basis of negotiations. 

It is interesting to note here that Mr Venezelos 
had on several occasions during the proceedings 
at the London Conference attempted to discuss the 
partition of the conquered territory with Dr Daneff. 
The Bulgarian statesman, however, avoided the 
subject as far as possible, and upon the Greek 
Premier explaining that his ideas led him to ask 
for all the littoral east to the Mesta River, pulled 
a wry face and insisted that Bulgaria required 
Vodena and Kastoria in addition to Monastir. 
Eventually Dr Daneff declined to enter into further 
discussion while in London, and voiced the opinion 
that peace should first be concluded with Turkey, 
the Balkan Confederation then formed, following 
which the spoils could be divided up. A knowledge 
of these conversations convinced Prince Nicholas 
that Bulgaria would attempt to negotiate first with 
one and then the other of her allies, and he accord- 
ingly impressed upon the Servians the necessity 
of a prior arrangement in order that they might 
subsequently present a united front to Bulgaria and 
demand that negotiations for partition should be 
conducted a quatre. 

In due course the London Peace Conference 



THE SERBO-GRECIAN ALLIANCE 280 

reached its unsuccessful conclusion, and the dele- 
gates departed for their respective capitals. The 
writer journeyed to Uskub to meet Mr Venezelos, 
and from thence to Salonika on 7th February had 
an excellent opportunity of discussing the project 
with the Greek Premier. The inferences to be 
drawn from this conversation were, in themselves, 
none too favourable to the idea of a Greco-Servian 
Alliance. Mr Venezelos had, while in London, 
been unable to realise the seriousness of the situa- 
tion, and he was obviously prepared to jettison 
his ideal of a Confederation only under stern 
compulsion. 

The result of three days' investigation in Salonika, 
however, came as a great shock to the Premier, and 
served to shake his optimism, if not to reduce his 
determination to work for the materialisation of his 
dream. Relations as between the allies thereafter 
rapidly worsened, and the Athenian Government 
was ultimately obliged to give its official countenance 
to the negotiations with Servia. At this stage con- 
siderable delay was manifested upon the Servian 
side, but just as fears were being freely expressed 
in the small circle at Salonika, which was aware of 
the pourparlers, that an impasse had been reached, 
the welcome announcement was received of a further 
excursion by Prince Alexander " to Monastir." 

The Servian Heir Apparent spent the day of 
loth March in Salonika, and during the discussion 
which then took place negotiations were considerably 
advanced. Ultimately, a pledge of secrecy having 
first been exchanged. Prince Nicholas outlined the 
Greek proposals, which were accepted in principle 



240 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

by Prince Alexander, and the two royal diplomats 
" shook hands " over their historic agreement. 

The causes which had led up to the consideration 
of this new understanding in themselves rendered it 
essential that nothing should be left to chance, and 
in view of this, subsequent negotiations were of a 
somewhat protracted nature. The underlying prin- 
ciple followed by both Cabinets was that, if possible, 
war with Bulgaria was to be avoided. The idea of 
fratricidal strife between the former allies was repug- 
nant to no one more than to Mr Venezelos, and it 
needed the goad of self-preservation to drive him 
into any entente directed against Bulgaria. 

The alliance, in its conception, was of a purely 
defensive nature. It was, in effect, an understanding 
between Greece and Servia to mutually resist any 
attempt on the part of Bulgaria to take from them 
the territory which they had conquered. The first 
step, therefore, was to fix their minimum demands, 
and to come to an agreement concerning the new 
Serbo-Grecian frontier. On the whole, but little 
difficulty was encountered. Servia gave up her 
claim to Fiorina, and Greece yielded on Gievgeli. 
There was some bargaining over smaller townships 
— always, however, conducted in a most amicable 
spirit — and the existing frontier between the two 
nations up to its junction with the Vardar River 
below Gievgeli was finally agreed upon. 

But the treaty went further. It provided both 
for the joint action of the Greek and Servian armies 
should either country be attacked by Bulgaria, and 
the division of the territory lying south of the eastern 
Roumelian frontier, in the event of a successful 



THE SERBO-GRECIAN ALLIANCE 241 

campaign. The " peace " frontier confined Servia 
to the right bank of the Vardar River, while Greece's 
minimum led her down the centre of Lakes Ardzan 
and Amatovo, leaving Kilkich, Doiran, etc., to 
Bulgaria. According to the treaty, however, war 
was to see the extension of Servia east, and Greece 
north, to Lake Doiran, the Serbs taking the town 
and the Hellenes the railway station. From the 
lake the divisional line was drawn along the Belesh 
planina, and thence approximately due east to the 
Mesta River. A clause was also included providing 
for the descent of Servia through a neutral belt down 
to Porto Largos, thus giving her an outlet to the 
yEgean Sea. 

On 14th May, prior to the signature of the actual 
treaty, a military convention was concluded at 
Salonika. The presence of the Servian officers who 
were acting for the Belgrade Cabinet was carefully 
veiled from the Bulgarian authorities then in Salon- 
ika, and, as a matter of fact, they were conveyed 
by sea from their place of residence to the Palace 
of Prince Nicholas on that eventful morning when 
the convention, so full of import for the future of 
the Balkan Peninsula, was actually signed. 

The formal treaty between the two Governments 
was signed in Salonika on ist June by Mr Alexan- 
dropoulos, Greek Minister at Belgrade, and Mr 
Boschkovitch, then Servian Minister at Athens. 
Thenceforth, Greece and Servia endeavoured to 
ensure an amicable settlement of their differences 
with Bulgaria. Mr Venezelos put forward his arbi- 
tration proposal, and while Europe was awaiting 
the reunion of the projected Conference a qiiatre, 

Q 



242 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Bulgaria simultaneously attacked the Greek and 
Servian lines, and the dark clouds of internecine 
strife, which had been slowly gathering for nine 
months, burst and showered desolation and despair 
over an already half-ruined Macedonia! 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE WAR OF THE ALLIES 



An Eventful Journey. — The Balkan League was, 
from its very inauguration, an inharmonious, un- 
natural thing, foredoomed to speedy disintegration, 
and the statesmen who had fondly awaited the 
formation of a powerful confederation, which would 
throw its weight into the scales of the side of the 
Triple Entente, built up their poHcy on a foundation 
of quicksand. They forgot the past, they ignored 
the present, and they sadly misjudged the future. 

The removal of Turkey from the field of dis- 
cussion was, perhaps, a necessary and justifiable 
preliminary, but the real strife in the Balkans was, 
is, and probably ever will be, one between Serb and 
Greek and Bulgar. Each of these peoples regards 
the peninsula as its heritage, and though the menace 
of a common enemy may again succeed in bring- 
ing about a temporary coalition of their forces, no 
leagues, alliances, or confederations can do more 
than delay the struggle for racial supremacy. Balkan 
wars are no mere combats over questions of amour- 
propre. Insult is not necessarily a causiis belli 
in the Orient. These races are not tempted to fight 
for " Fashodas " or " Agadirs." They have more 
serious pigeon to pluck. 



244 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

The " War of the AlHes " was due to no wave d 
madness, but to a decision on the part of each 
of the combatants that its future should not be 
jeopardised. Shorn of all previously signed treaties 
and agreements, and disentangled from the argu- 
ments deluged upon the world from Sofia, Athens, 
and Belgrade, the situation in June, 191 3, was just 
this : Bulgaria, feeling herself the stronger power, 
had set her ambitions upon the re-establishment, 
to-day or to-morrow, of the old Bulgarian Empire 
which Boris and Simeon had founded. She wished 
to-day to push her boundaries south to the Vistrica 
River and west to the frontiers of Albania, and to- 
morrow to drive the Greeks still farther south, pierce 
her way to the Adriatic, swallow up Servia, and 
create the long-dreamed-of " Empire of the Four 
Seas." 

Greece and Servia, however, were not prepared 
to accept peace at any price. Their terms covered 
a limitation of Bulgaria to the left bank of the Vardar 
River and north of Salonika, and the establishment 
of an approximate equilibrium in the Balkans which 
would enable them to effectually checkmate any 
attempt on the part of the Bulgars to overpower 
them in the future. The right of priority of occu- 
pation as a basis for the division of the land con- 
quered from Turkey was at first opposed by Sofia 
as firmly as it was insisted upon by Athens and Bel- 
grade, and it was a subsequent desire to adopt the 
principle of her old alHes, but on her own terms, 
that led the Bulgarians to their Waterloo. The 
absence of any prior agreement with Greece, and 
an arrogant contempt for the military value of the 



THE WAR OF THE ALLIES 245 

Servian and Hellenic armies, drew Bulgaria into 
the error of attempting, by force of arms, to share 
the occupation of the disputed ground. 

The frontier agreed upon under the Greco-Servian 
Treaty could, and doubtless would have been event- 
ually altered had the St Petersburg Conference 
become a fait accompli, but in the meantime 
military preparations were undertaken with common 
accord, and the troops disposed in such a manner 
as to counter the new concentration of the Bulgarian 
army. The more chauvinistic sections of the Ser- 
vian and Greek armies chafed at delay, and con- 
demned the tactics which gave time to the Bulgarians 
to bring their troops up from Tchataldja; but the 
statesmen, striving always, even in spite of them- 
selves, to secure a harmonious settlement of their 
differences with their powerful neighbour, effectually 
opposed any hasty action, and succeeded, often with 
great difficulty, in keeping the military parties in 
check. 

It is significant that only from Sofia was the world 
consistently advised of the apparent inevitability of 
war, and one is forced to the conclusion that the 
determination to embark upon a new military move- 
ment was then known to a privileged few outside 
Government circles. On 26th June, following a 
request made to Prince Alexander of Servia for cer- 
tain information of a political nature which I desired, 
I received a telegram from His Royal Highness 
inviting me to visit him at Uskub. Fearing, how- 
ever, that war might break out in my absence, I 
called upon Colonel Dousmanis, Chief of the Greek 
General Staff, who advised me of his firm conviction 



246 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

that outstanding questions would receive a peaceful 
solution, and that all risk of war might safely be 
considered at an end. 

Two things impressed me forcibly on my day- 
long journey to Uskub. The first was the ingenuity 
with which the Serbs had succeeded in doubhng the 
time occupied on the voyage ; the second, the almost 
complete disappearance of the fez. Various reasons 
were advanced for the tortoise crawl to Uskub. The 
Servians said that the permanent way was in bad 
condition ; the railway company's officials claimed 
that the engines were too heavy; unkind people 
suggested that slow travelling effects an enormous 
economy in fuel consumption. Whatever may be 
the real cause, the fact remains that we never had 
anything quite so bad even in Turkey-in-Europe. 

I arrived in Scoplja — to give it its new old name — 
to be there met by an officer of the Crown Prince's 
staff, who, to my surprise and delight, spoke Enghsh 
a good deal better, as I subsequently learned, than 
Servian. 

" His Royal Highness regrets that he has been 
obliged to leave for Koumanovo to-day, but requests 
you to be good enough to take the train for that 
destination to-morrow afternoon, when an auto- 
mobile will be in attendance to conduct you to the 
camp." 

The waiter at the squalid little hotel where I 
passed the night spoke Servian and a Httle Italian — 
" Piccolo Italiano," he called it. 

He had not underestimated his linguistic talent, 
for his knowledge proved to be limited to such com- 



THE WAR OF THE ALLIES 247 

paratively familiar words as " macaroni," " spaghetti," 
and " salami," while he with difficulty squeaked out 
a " gratzia " in exchange for a tip. I well remem- 
ber, on my first visit to Belgrade, being impressed 
with the incongruity of electric street cars running 
side by side with antiquated oxen wagons. There, 
in my Uskub hotel, I found electric light throwing 
into hideous prominence filthy floors and dirty, broken 
walls, which had not tasted whitewash since the 
day they were slapped up by Albanian masons — for 
the masons of Macedonia are mostly Albanians, 
who, when trade is bad, emigrate to America, and 
build up comparative fortunes by drawing four 
dollars a day, and living on bread and cheese. With 
the exercise of due precaution it is possible to pass 
the night in a Uskub hotel without entertaining too 
much company! By drawing the bed well away 
from the walls, and carefully examining the bedding, 
one can sleep with tolerable comfort. 

The following morning I called upon Colonel 
Milovanovitch at the Servian headquarters. 

" What is the latest news, Colonel ? " 

" Oh ! it seems that the dispute will be arranged 
by the diplomats, and that we shall have no war. 
We sometimes think that, as a further conflict is 
inevitable in the near future, it would have been 
well to fight it out now, but perhaps it is better 
that the men get back home and resume their 
vocations." 

Ere the Colonel could finish his statement, the 
door opened, an officer entered, saluted, and handed 
his superior a dispatch. Colonel Milovanovitch 
looked across at me and wagged his head. 



^48 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

" It has commenced," he said ; " the Bulgarians 
have opened fire on our whole line from Gievgeli 
to Istib." 

"The railway?" I gasped. "Is the line to 
Salonika cut? '' 

" Yes," he answered, " the Bulgars captured Giev- 
geli shortly after daybreak this morning." 

" Then how on earth am I to get back ? " I 
demanded. 

At which the Colonel gave his shoulders one of 
those expressive little shrugs which speak volumes 
when an Oriental is the shrugger. One route after 
another was considered, only to be immediately 
rejected as impracticable, until I decided to make my 
way by train to Veles, thence in carriage over the 
mountains to Monastir, and so back to Salonika. 

The Servian passenger service had been im- 
mediately suspended, but the authorities at once 
offered me the hospitality of a military train, which 
was to convey a battalion of Montenegrin warriors 
to Veles overnight. My instructions being to attend 
at the station at ten o'clock, I appeared at the ap- 
pointed hour, only to find the time of departure no 
more precisely fixed than it had been earlier in the 
day. While we waited, the firstfruits of the new 
war arrived in the shape of two hundred and fifty 
badly wounded warriors from the fight at Krivolak, 
accompanied by an equal number of fugitive Turks, 
homeless, destitute, and possessing nothing more 
than the rags which hung around their trembling 
bodies. 

" Where are you from ? " I asked them. 
" From Valandovo." 



THE WAR OF THE ALLIES 240 

" Why have you run away ? " 

" Because people came in from the surrounding 
villages telling us that the Bulgars were advancing, 
and had massacred the entire male population." 

" Where are your hanoumsf " 

" We had no time to save them, so we left them 
behind." 

My ideas of Ottoman chivalry received a rude 
shock. That the Bulgarians should have massacred 
the Turks who lay in their path surprised me but 
little after my previous experience, but that Moslems 
should have left their women-folk to the mercy of 
the advancing hordes, was disconcerting to previously 
conceived notions of the Moslem character. 

Our Montenegrins were packed into the emptied 
trucks, I took my appointed place among them, 
and we were off for the seat of war. The men from 
the black mountains are kindly fellows, who go into 
war light of, heart and gay of soul. A delightful 
intimacy exists between officers and men, but, 
strange to say, discipline is not thereby weakened, 
for the orderly who has been cracking a joke with 
his captain does not fail to spring to attention and 
swiftly obey the order which he often receives ere 
the laughter has died away. 

Sitting in the corner of our wagon, his arms 
round the neck of a youthful warrior, was an old 
wizen man in mufti, who must have seen well over 
sixty summers. 

" What is the old grandfather doing with you ? ' 
I asked of an officer. 

" Ah ! " he replied, " that is common enough in our 
army. He is off to the war to watch over his boy. I 



250 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

remember when we were fighting the Turks at Tara- 
bosh I observed just such another old man sitting a 
few yards from one of our guns." 

What are you wanting here ? ' I queried. 
That's my son over there/ he said. ' I am just 
following him round to see that he does his duty, 
and to attend to him if he should fall.' " 

This striking instance of family affection, which 
could only occur when, as in Balkan struggles, whole 
nations go to war, recalls another story told me by 
a Servian officer. One of the transport wagons 
was observed to be systematically carrying less than 
the regulation load. Investigations made, it was 
found that the owner had fitted his vehicle with a 
false bottom, while in between the two floors lay the 
dead body of his brother. In this manner he had 
hoped ultimately to convey the corpse home for 
burial, attempting to preserve it from decomposition 
by daily covering up the face with wet cloths. 

At 2.30 a.m. we eventually reached Veles, where 
one of the saddest sights in my experience of two 
wars met my gaze. From early morning fighting 
of a most determined nature had been proceed- 
ing a few miles away, and now the enceinte of 
the station was littered with the terrible results of 
the struggle. Lying motionless upon stretchers, 
crouched against walls, or huddled underneath trees, 
lay hundreds of wounded warriors. Their wounds 
had received primitive attention, but otherwise they 
bore a fearful testimony to the horrors of war. The 
night was bitterly cold. Clad in the lightest of 
garments, suitable only for my anticipated two days' 
travel in a sun-baked railway carriage, to remain 



S E R/V I A 




RO^l 



Sofia (§> 



BULGARIA 



Dubniiza 




Grac^sko 



• Prilip 



lOSH 10 10 20 50 40 30 60 TV 80 

I M I I I f 



Kilometres. 



Gievcjeli 



The SERBO-aULGAR Camrajgn. 



THE WAR OF THE ALLIES 251 

eutside in the arctic temperature was unthinkable. 
So I demanded shelter. 

" There is but the waiting-room," repUed the 
stationmaster. " You are welcome to go in there, 
and a bench in the corner will, perhaps, permit you 
to rest a little." 

I entered this mortuary. My first impulse was 
to beat a hasty retreat, but the bitter cold without 
forced me back again. Within, packed like sardines 
upon the floor, were the most seriously wounded 
of the day's engagement. The surroundings were 
hideous. The moans and groans of the stricken sol- 
diers, the stench of stale blood and iodoform, would 
have sickened the stoutest heart, while, as if to 
complete the horror, every twenty minutes or so 
orderlies would enter with a stretcher to remove some 
poor soul who had given up the fight, and to fill 
his place with one of the more serious of the cases 
which had perforce been hitherto left outside. This 
was the rough end of the war ; here was the reverse 
of the medal of martial glory ; and I felt that could 
the nations have sat and gazed upon that sad, heart- 
rending spectacle, as did I, the cause of universal 
peace would have been thereby advanced more than 
by a thousand monster demonstrations in European 
capitals. 

As the sun rose and dispelled the chilly night, I 
quitted the chamber of death and suffering, and 
joined the maimed warriors outside. I have said that 
their wounds had received primitive attention, yet 
it did not need the labels pinned on to their coats 
to tell the story. One man had his head half 
smothered in bandages, but his blackened eyes and 



252 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

swollen jaw told of a deadly missile that had nearly 
shot off half his face. Another lay still on the 
ground, while the small rent in his blood-splashed 
trousers declaimed that a murderous bullet had 
shattered the leg that now rested motionless by his 
side. Round the corner, just out of sight, was a 
row of fresh, warm corpses — death's harvest of the 
newly passed night. It was strange to see these 
Servians handle death. To them it seemed but 
an item in their daily life — to be awaited by all 
and feared by none. One man, who had died by 
the side of my doss, groaned for an hour, and 
then, when the end came, gave what sounded 
strangely like a grunt of satisfaction that all was 
over. Life has so little and patriotism so great a 
value among these nations in the making, that they 
count death but an added glory. And thus could 
I go on describing the mass of wrecked humanity 
which peopled a station that the day before had 
been gay and clamorous with the rushing of light- 
hearted travellers, and the cries of noisy water-sellers. 

At daybreak the thunder of the cannon over the 
hills told of the renewal of the deadly struggle, and 
the wounded were brought up in their hundreds. 
As rapidly as possible the victims of this terrible 
carnage were refreshed with tea, packed into goods 
trucks, and evacuated to Uskub, the while I made 
inquiries for the carriage for which I had telegraphed 
the previous night. 

" Carriage ! " derisively repeated our friend the 
stationmaster. " Yes, I received your telegram, 
but you'll find no carriage here. The horses have 
all been commandeered by the military authorities." 



THE WAR OF THE ALLIES 258 

My plight will easily be imagined. To be hung 
up at Uskub was bad! But to be stranded at Veles, 
with its speedy capture by the Bulgarians well within 
the realm of possibihty, was infinitely more discon- 
certing. My one hope lay in bringing home to 
the Prefect and the Town Commandant a correct 
appreciation of my predicament. So away I trudged 
to the Prefecture. The authorities fully realised 
my position, but 

" But! " I interrupted, " there must be no ' buts ' ; 
you have seen my papers, and you must find me 
horses, otherwise I shall be obliged to telegraph to 
Uskub." 

The threat had the desired effect, and two gen- 
darmes were sent out to scour the town for any horses 
that had been overlooked by the military. An 
hour's search resulted in the discovery of two care- 
worn, underfed animals owned by a Turk, who 
agreed to drive m.e to Monastir for a sum which 
was certainly calculated to include an assurance 
against capture by a Bulgarian band. He further 
demanded a delay of two hours to prepare for the 
journey, a stipulation which rendered the prospect 
of my catching the Salonika train the following 
morning exceedingly hazardous. But there are some 
occasions upon which one is forced to bow to the 
inevitable — and this was undoubtedly one of them. 

"Very well," I concluded. "You will be at the 
station at 1 1 o'clock, and you, monsieur," I added, 
addressing the Commandant, " will be good enough 
to provide m.e with a soldier." 

" Quite unnecessary," he replied. " There are no 
bands on the route." 



254 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

"That may be," I rejoined; "and for myself, I 
should be sorry to oppose one solitary soldier to the 
attack of a Bulgarian band, but you will have patrols 
on the road who may not be able to read my papers, 
and as I shall have to drive all through the night 
if I am to catch the train to-morrow, I cannot risk 
any unnecessary delays." 

" But we have no soldiers." 

"Then I must ask you to be good enough to 
find one, even as you did the horses." 

And so it was arranged that a corporal was to 
accompany the carriage to the station. 

At 11.30 a.m. the carriage appeared — of course, 
without the soldier. One gets accustomed to such 
lapses in the Orient. I ordered the cocker to drive back 
to the Konak, where I re-found my Commandant. 

"Where is my soldier?" I demanded. 

"Ah! Yes! the corporal," quoth he; "is he not 
there? Dear me! how annoying! " 

The gallant Colonel rang his bell, summoned the 
Captain of the Guard, and held a conversation with 
him, from which I easily divined that no soldier 
had been hitherto ordered. Half an hour more of 
precious time was wasted ere we at last got under 
way, and set out for Prilip. 

The first item of interest we met was a Servian 
convoy of oxen wagons outspanned exactly in the 
centre of the road, so that each individual vehicle 
with its beasts had to be pushed into the ditch 
before we could pass. Henceforth, however, we 
encountered but little delay, and by walking up the 
hills in order to ease the burden of our horses, we 
made fair progress. 



THE WAR OF THE AIJJES 255 

Kuprili to Monastir was the scene of the last trek 
of what remained of Zeki Pacha's Vardar army after 
the rout at Koumanovo, and it still bore evidence 
of the retreat. On the hill-side, blackened fields 
formed an appropriate Hnk between a ruined village 
and one of those devastated Moslem cemeteries 
peopled with toppling tombstones w^hich are an all 
too frequent feature of Macedonian scenery. Here 
and there a fresh earthen mound, surmounted by a 
crude wooden cross, marked the spot where some 
Christian warrior had been laid to rest as the Serbs 
sped along- at the heels of their Mohammedan prey, 
and the very hans by the wayside, that minister 
to the needs of weary travellers, had been wrecked 
by fleeing Turks or pursuing Servians ; until at last, 
tired and footsore, we reached the foot of the 
famous pass of Prilip. We halted there to rest 
before attacking the steep ascent which lay before 
us. As one stands in the valley, one sees the road 
wind nigh a score of times until it reaches the 
plateau at the summit of the mountain upon which 
the Turks had planted the guns which rained shrap- 
nel on the advancing Servian army. 

The sun had already sunk behind the tree-tipped 
hills, and storm clouds were sweeping up on a 
northerly wind as we set out to negotiate the 
most difficult phase of our journey. We had scarce 
entered the twisting roadway, but were already lost 
amid the giant undergrowth of the mountain-side, 
when an unseen voice broke upon the eerie silence 
of those everlasting tors and summoned us to stop. 
The Turkish coachman darted to my side. The 
vServian whispered " Bulgars," and took another 



256 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

swig at a bottle of Balkan fire-water with which he 
had armed himself; then he kissed his gun and 
waited. We were far from possible succour, in 
the centre of a district famous as a shelter for 
lawless bands, with whom my protector was now at 
war, unable to retreat, yet fearing to press onward. 
It was some minutes — they seemed like hours — 
before we discerned, on a bend in the road above us, 
the figures of four Servian soldiers. Thus reassured, 
we commenced to advance, but automatically the 
patrol — for such it was — covered us with their 
rifles. I sent the Servian ahead ; his fellow warriors 
kept their guns levelled at him, only to lower them 
and present their bayonets at his abdominal regions, 
when at length he reached them. This display of 
caution, as I subsequently learned, had its origin 
in a well-merited fear that some Bulgarian " komit- 
adji " might without difficulty murder a stray Servian 
and commandeer his uniform. Explanations offered, 
and our papers examined, we were allowed to 
proceed on our way. This incident, now however 
robbed of much of its excitement, was repeated 
twice ere we neared the end of our climb, and entered 
into the rain clouds which clothed the top of the 
mountains. 

My tropical clothing was speedily saturated, and 
the cold became almost unbearable, x^-t length we 
halted on the summit and surveyed the country 
which lay between us and Prilip. We stood, as it 
were, at the head of a horseshoe of black, forbidding 
mountains, which had for years provided a secure 
hiding-place for some of the political bands which 
had plagued Macedonia, and defied the ineffective 



THE WAR OF THE ALLIES 257 

Turkish attempts to restore peace and tranquillity. 
To the north, storm clouds were bursting on the 
rugged pinnacles, and lightning flashed as the noise 
of thunder rent the darkened heavens. Down in 
the valley, a two hours' drive away, and now almost 
invisible, lay the famous Bulgarian revolutionary 
centre of Prilip. Beyond, we knew the flat plains 
spread away to Monastir, so with a consciousness 
that we had now left the worst part of our journey 
behind us, we commenced the descent to our next 
resting-place. 

By the time we reached the flat country below 
rain was falling, and the inky blackness of the night 
would have closed the road to any driver less ex- 
perienced than was ours. He, willing soul, crouched 
down behind the dashboard for shelter, while I, 
taking our corporal beside me, sought to share the 
insufficient protection afforded by his service over- 
coat. Thus, cold and numb, we proceeded upon 
our way, fearing always that the clatter of our horses' 
hoofs might betray our presence to some stray band of 
Bulgarians, until once more a summons to halt rang 
out from the night. This proved to be nothing 
more disquieting than outposts outside Prilip. We 
were subjected to a minute examination before being 
permitted to go forward, but no further adventure 
befell us until we were brought to a stop without the 
walls of the town itself. 

Once in the cobbled streets we felt safer, but 
at every corner a sentinel stayed our progress, 
and carefully scrutinised us before allowing us to 
proceed. At length we reached the bolted and 
barred door of the friendly han. Thrice we 

R 



258 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

knocked before a Servian voice within deigned to 
answer our summons. Our coachman explained 
our desire for shelter, food, and rest, and then 
the door was unbarred and — a hand grasping a 
villainous-looking revolver appeared, followed by 
its ever-suspicious owner. The driver's face prov- 
ing familiar, and my indentity having been explained, 
we were admitted within. I called for brandy to 
heat our stiffened bodies, the while we discussed 
plans for our future progress. Conversation had, 
I should perhaps explain, been somewhat difficult 
throughout, as it was necessary for me to address 
my coachman in Turkish, he in turn translating my 
remarks to the others in broken Servian. 

We had made satisfactory progress. It was then 
lo o'clock, so that we had covered the first stage 
of our journey in little more than the regulation ten 
hours. A further eight hours lay between us and 
Monastir, whence the train for Salonika departed 
at 9 a.m. 

" Which means," I explained to the assembled 
company of innkeeper, driver, soldier, and several 
small boys, "that we must leave here at 
I a.m. 

My suggestion met with universal disapproval. 
The innkeeper hissed and chucked his head back 
in a manner which, in the Orient, means an emphatic 
negative, and explained that it was forbidden to 
leave the town before sunrise ; the coachman de- 
clared that his horses absolutely could not proceed 
until the morning ; the soldier murmured " Bulgars," 
and drew his finger across his throat with a signifi- 
cant gesture. 



THE WAR OF THE ALLIES 259 

I knew that the coachman and soldier could be 
bribed to go, but the innkeeper's objection, smack- 
ing, as it did, of official obstacles, needed more 
serious attention. So, at my request, we all set 
off along the winding alleys in search of the town 
Commandant. 

As we turned a corner and saw in the distance a 
more than usually brilliant light, the sentry who 
stood beneath its glare summoned us to stop, and 
levelled his gun at our defenceless bodies. Once 
more I sent the corporal in advance, and once more 
his companion covered him until, at some ten yards' 
distance, he brought him again to a halt. The 
Commandant was away, he informed us, and any- 
thing we had to say should be communicated to the 
Prefect. So we went in search of M. le Prefect. 
Here a similar reception awaited us, but by dint of 
much perseverance we eventually succeeded in gain- 
ing entrance to the courtyard, where a company of 
soldiers turned out and carefully surrounded us with 
fixed bayonets. I hesitate to recall what manner of 
argument was necessary before a friendly noncom 
was prevailed upon to communicate our desire for 
a short interview with His Excellency. There was 
much hammering and an altercation through the 
bolted door, until the barrier opened, and the Pre- 
fect appeared, hatless, but with his trusty rifle in 
his hand. The authority examined my papers and 
agreed that, on account of same, I was at liberty 
to proceed at my will, but, in view of the general 
insecurity of the district, and the probable presence 
of Bulgarian bands, he strongly recommended me 
to delay my departure until daybreak. My own 



260 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

soldier flatly refused to proceed, illuminating his 
refusal with another of those now annoying sug- 
gestions that he possessed a whoUy unwarrantable 
objection to having his throat cut. It was only when 
I succeeded in conveying to his dull intelhgence 
that any disinclination to obey my orders would 
probably result in his being hanged, that he raised 
his hands in despair and resigned himself to the 
inevitable. 

We had returned to the inn, and were discussing 
final arrangements for the morrow when shots rang 
out in a street near by. 

" What's that ? " exclaimed the company in chorus. 
The scared look on their unshaven faces would 
have automatically steadied the nerves of any 
Englishman. The most appropriate remark I could 
make was to the effect that it sounded as though 
somebody had fired off a rifle. As an antidote I 
ordered a round of drinks. 

There was no immediate repetition of the shoot- 
ing; nerves accordingly calmed down, and I was 
able to suggest that we retire to rest, and to leave 
orders that I was to be called at one o'clock. I 
climbed to my room — unusually clean, by the way 
— and was in the act of removing my damp outer 
garments, when there was a renewal of the firing 
outside. This proved to be the signal for a general 
invasion of my bedroom by the entire population 
of the han. The situation certainly was unpleas- 
ant. We were caged up in a Bulgarian revolutionary 
centre, the Servian garrison was small, and a band 
of two hundred Bulgarian irregulars would have 
experienced little difficulty in putting the town at 




PRINCE ALEXANDER OF GREECE AND PRINCE AAGE OF DENMARK 
DIG A DRAIN FROM THEIR TENT AT LIVOURNOVO. 




THE BRIDGE OVER THE STRUMA RIVER AT DERP.END. 
The centre span was l)lo\vn up by tlie i-etreating Bulgarians. 



THE WAR OF THE ALLIES 261 

their mercy, in which case there would have been 
very few of us drinking coffee in PriHp the following 
evening-. It was a case, however, which called for 
sang-froid, so I pointed out to my panic-stricken 
guests that it would avail them little to lose their 
heads, advised them to arm themselves, and pro- 
vide me also with a weapon, and await developments. 
As for me, I proposed to sleep. 

Thus I was left in peace, but as I reclined upon 
the bed the silence of the night was broken by a 
prolonged rattle of musketry on the hills outside. 
It was evident that the fears of these poor wretches 
were not groundless, and our lives undoubtedly hung 
on the ability of the Servian soldiers to drive off the 
band with whom they were in combat. Tired and 
weary, I resigned myself to fate much as a sea-sick 
traveller looks with satisfaction on the possible 
disappearance of his ship beneath the waves, and 
dropped off to sleep. What happened away over 
the mountains I never learned, but I was still slum- 
bering soundly when I was awakened by the inn- 
keeper to find my bedroom bathed in the light of 
the rising sun. These unhappy people, determined 
not to leave Prilip in the darkness of the night, had 
allowed me to sleep on until daylight rendered the 
route to Monastir safe for travel. 

Henceforth, events moved quickly. I rushed 
downstairs, roused everybody into activity, and after 
surprisingly Httle delay we set out upon the last 
stage of our voyage. We had but six hours in which 
to do a normal eight hours' journey. I surrendered 
my threadbare cushion to the soldier, sat myself 
upon the box next to the driver, and by dint of 



262 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

whipping our poor, unfortunate horses over the 
entire distance, eventually reached Monastir just in 
time to leap into the train as it moved out 
of the station. I had caught the last train for 
Salonika! 



CHAPTER XXIII 

THE STAB IN THE BACK 

At the moment when Russian diplomacy was con- 
gratulating itself upon its success in arranging for 
a meeting of Balkan premiers at St Petersburg, and 
when European statesmen had become convinced 
that all danger of the war between the allies had 
at length passed, the Bulgarians, on 29th June, 
suddenly overpowered the small Greek outposts 
at Leftera and Pravista. In the early hours of 
the following morning they attacked the Servian 
positions on the Rivers Bregalnitza and Zletovska 
and at Gievgeli. In other words, they delivered a 
simultaneous assault upon the entire front held 
by their allies. Gievgeli, which was the point of 
contact between the Greeks and Servians, and which 
was held by a few companies of Servian reservists 
of the 3rd ban — old men armed with antiquated 
rifles — speedily fell, and the Bulgarians cut the 
connection between the allied armies and obtained 
possession of the railway line over a length of 
several miles. Under the first military convention 
between Greece and Servia, Gievgeli had been 
counted a position of great strategic importance, 
and was to be defended by a Servian division under 
the command of the Greek Commander-in-Chief. 

263 



264 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Subsequent consideration, however, led to a redis- 
tribution of the two armies, and the possibihty of a 
temporary occupation of the town as a result of a 
Bulgarian raid was regarded as of little importance. 

It is probable that the intention of the Bulgarians 
in thus suddenly violating the agreed-upon line of 
demarcation, was to fight their way into the disputed 
territory, depose the existing administrations, and 
then proceed to argue the matter out at St Peters- 
burg. Exactly what resistance they expected to 
encounter we do not know, but that they held the 
military force of their neighbours in great contempt 
was common knowledge. The policy of despising 
one's enemies will, however, probably come into 
even greater disrepute than hitherto as a result of 
their experience. The Bulgarian attack touched 
the lever in the Greco-Servian Treaty which set 
the allied armies simultaneously in motion, and the 
demonstration, coming as it did after a plethora of 
threats from Sofia, and following upon great activity 
in Macedo-Bulgar circles, was accepted as a declara- 
tion of war. That even the Bulgarians were con- 
scious that international honour had been outraged 
by their action, was evident from the persistent but 
ineffectual attempt made by them to lay the respon- 
sibility for the commencement of hostilities at the 
door of the Greeks and Servians. 

My own experiences, related in a preceding 
chapter, render inevitable the deduction that the war 
was due to an anticipated and brutal attack by 
Bulgaria upon her erstwhile allies. It is not often, 
however, that a nation is prepared to itself produce 
documentary evidence of its own treachery. Yet, 



THE STAB IN THE BACK 265 

thanks to internal mud-slinging and a bitter com- 
bination of party politics and personal jealousy, 
Bulgaria to-day stands self-convicted of perhaps the 
greatest of national crimes. The circumstances are 
simple, almost childish. General Ivanoff, who was 
defeated by the Greeks, seeks to shift the responsi- 
bility for his unsuccess on to the shoulders of his 
Commander-in-Chief, who, resenting the accusa- 
tions, publishes in the semi-official journal, the Mir 
of Sofia, the orders given for the Bulgarian attack 
of 29th-30th June, 191 3. I preface them by 
extracts from a preceding Bulgarian order which 
demonstrates that the attack was due to no sudden 
inspiration, but was part and parcel of a deter- 
mination to proceed to an armed occupation of 
the disputed territory. The diplomatic negotiations 
undertaken by the Bulgarian Cabinet, and the pre- 
tended acceptance of arbitration had, therefore, no 
other object than to humbug Greece and Servia, 
together with the European Powers, until such time 
as this new military concentration was completed. 

On 17th June, 191 3, General Kovatcheff, com- 
manding the 4th Bulgarian Army, issued the following 
order (No. 29) to the troops under his command: 

" In six or seven days at the latest, the last 
detachments of the army will arrive at the front 
of our concentration, and then the destiny of our 
relations with our neighbours — until now our 
allies — will be definitely settled. It is of supreme 
importance, in this matter, to take every possible 
step that will enable us to uplift and maintain 
at its highest level the moral of our soldiers, by 



266 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

the giving of lectures by the officers concerning 
the reasons which have forced us — after the con- 
clusion of peace and instead of returning to our 
homes — to turn against this new perfide and 
infamous enemy. 



" Our men must be informed that the Greek 
and Servian soldiers, who are so courageous when 
opposed to defenceless populations [sic'] are merely 
cowards whom our simple approach has filled 
with fear. Upon the arrival of our first detach- 
ments their moral weakened ; to-day it is reduced 
to nothingness. The confirmation of this fact is 
found in the enormous number of deserters from 
the Servian and Greek lines who daily surrender 
to us, and who declare that their comrades are 
resolved to lay down their arms upon the com- 
mencement of hostilities [sic\. 



" I repeat once more that the maintenance of 
the highest degree of martial spirit is of capital 
importance, in order that we may well and quickly 
settle this crisis which has been imposed upon us 
by our allies." 

Following the issue of these bellicose instructions, 
the Balkan air was filled with arbitration proposals, 
and the Bulgarian Government played its double 
game with Oriental subtlety. When she expressed 
a fervid desire for an amicable settlement with 
her ex-allies, her military chiefs were elaborating a 



THE STAB IN THE BACK 267 

diabolical plan of campaign against them ; ^ while 
the Sofia Press Bureau was announcing Dr Daneff' s 
departure for St Petersburg, the Bulgarian head- 
quarters' staff must have been drawing up the follow- 
ing incriminating order from General Savoff to the 
4th Army, and which, embodied in coded telegram 
No. 5647, was dispatched from Sofia on 30th June 
at 3.55 p.m. I give the text in full: 

" To the Commander of the 4th Army at 
Radoritza. 

" According to Order No. 24, I have ordered 
the 4th Army to continue to act on the offensive, 
and the 2nd Army (Ivanoff), after having completed 
its operations towards Tsaigesi, to immediately 
proceed to its concentration on the line indicated 
in order to attack Salonika. 

" The Commandants of the army must take 
into consideration that our attack against the 
Serbs and the Greeks will be made without a 

* On 19th May, 19 13 (v.s.) General Savoflf telegraphed the 
following dispatch (No. 4683) to M. Gueshoff, Premier of 
Bulgaria : 

" It is indispensable that the situation shall be maintained 
in a condition of suspense until loth June (23rd). In any 
case, the critical period will have elapsed by 31st May (13th 
June). On that date (31st May) we shall be in a position to 
undertake energetic action at certain points." 

To which M. Gueshoff replied : 

*' Persuaded that, in order to ensure success, it is necessary 
to maintain the situation in suspense, I had a meeting with 
Pashitch (Servian Premier) yesterday, and we have agreed, in 
principle, to a conference between all the allied States." 



268 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

declaration of war, and that they are dictated by 
the following important reasons : 

" I . To as far as possible uplift the moral of 
our troops and to make them consider our ex-allies 
as our enemies. 

" 2. To confront Russian policy with the danger 
of war between the old alhes, and oblige it to 
hasten the solution of the question instead of 
retarding it. 

"3. By our violent attack upon our allies, to 
render them more conciliatory. 

"4. As we claim the territory that our allies 
occupy for the moment, to attempt to seize it by 
armed force before the European Powers inter- 
vene to stop military operations, and, as this 
intervention may occur from one moment to the 
other, it is necessary to act quickly and energeti- 
cally. 

" The 4th Army will endeavour, at any cost, to 
occupy Veles (Kuprili) as soon as possible ; 
that will have great political importance. It is 
obvious that it is necessary to solidly occupy the 
line Tsar Vrh-Kratovo-Klisseli. 

" The 2nd Army, when it shall have completed 
its concentration, will, if the operations of the 4th 
Army permit, receive the order to attack Salonika. 
In this case, it will be reinforced by two or three 
brigades. 

" If the railway line, section Krivolak-Gievgeli, 
is occupied by our troops, the bridge must be 
guarded by strong detachments. By this means 
we shall assure to ourselves the possession of the 
two banks of the Vardar River." 



THE STAB IN THE BACK 269 

Let me quote again (omitting mere military 
details) from an order sent by the Commandant of 
the 2nd Brigade of the Bulgarian 4th Division to 
the " Commanders of troops and administrative 
sections." It is dated from Bonia village on 29th 
June, 1913, at 8 a.m. 

"i. Military operations between Serbs and 
Bulgars begin to-morrow. 

" 2. To-morrow the 30th inst., at 3 a.m., the 
army will advance and attack the enemy. 

" 4. Components of both columns are to pro- 
ceed to Zletovo to-morrow at 3 a.m., and to 
advance in silence and destroy the outposts of 
the enemy! Subsequently, they will proceed 
energetically towards their objectives as desig- 
nated. The enemy must be surprised! ^^ 

Were any further confirmation necessary, it could 
be found among the important documents dis- 
covered by the Greeks after their capture of the 
Bulgarian fortress at Kilkich, and which indicate 
clearly that the attack against the Greeks was like- 
wise premeditated. We find additional proof in 
dispatch No. 5590 of 28th June, from General 
Savoff to General Ivanoff at Serres : 

" Even before the completion of the concen- 
tration, attack the ' enemy ' at Leftera and Tsaigesi 
in the most energetic manner, and fortify yourself 
in their forts." ^ 

' Yet another interesting official communication has been pub- 
lished by the Sofia Press since this book was written. It con- 



270 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

It is indeed difficult to adequately express the 
natural repugnance which one feels in investigating 

sists of a letter from General Savoff to the Bulgarian Prime 
Minister, dated 6th May, 19 13, in which the General writes : 

" War between us and the Serbs and Greeks is inevitable. 
The army will accept this war with enthusiasm and will fight 
with the utmost vigour against these disloyal adversaries. 
Any concessions made by us to these crafty allies will provoke 
profound discontent in the army — a discontent which, more- 
over, nothing will allay. Apart from this, it is a matter 
which vitally affects the future of our country, for it concerns 
the settlement of the question of preponderance in the Balkans. 
The moment is a favourable one for profiting by the pretexts 
which our allies furnish, and to set in action all our forces 
with the object of assuring the hegemony of our country — a 
proceeding which will be no longer possible in a year or two 
because Europe will not permit it. 

" Therelore we must make use of all our cunning to provoke 
an armed conflict with our allies without fail, and, by inflict- 
ing a serious defeat upon them, to deprive them for all time 
of any hope of placing an obstacle before the realisation of 
our national dreams. It would be an unpardonable fault on 
our part to let slip this extremely propitious moment. This 
war will not be of long duration. 

" According to the military information which I have 
received bearing upon our future enterprise, the Greeks will 
be separated from the Serbs four days after the outbreak of 
hostilities, and they will find themselves in such a difficult 
situation that they will request the conclusion of an inde- 
pendent peace with us in order to save themselves. There- 
after the whole of our army will act against the Servian army, 
which will not be able to resist ours at any point." 

According to General Savofif, therefore, the Bulgarian army, 
as far back as May, 1913, was determined to ensure national 
preponderance in the Balkans, and to pick a quarrel with Greece 
and Servia in order to ensure that preponderance which would 
apparently have been disconcerting even to Europe. 

The war was not of long duration, but the General's further 
prophecy of an easy triumph over the Greeks went sadly agley. 



THE STAB IN THE BACK 271 

the evidence of such ignoble treachery as that of 
which the Bulgarians were guilty, and I cannot do 
better than repeat the comments of that well-known 
British journalist, Dr Dillon. Writing in the 
Contemporary Review of August, 1913, he says: 

^ " ' Success justifies itself ' was the maxim of 
these enterprising patriots, to whom all means 
that appeared efficacious were welcome. Accord- 
ingly everything was arranged with care. The 
Servian outposts, with whom the Bulgarians were, 
in many places, living on terms of intimacy, were 
to be surprised at dead of night, the others 
butchered in their sleep, the bulk of the army 
taken prisoner, and all knots of outstanding diffi- 
culties thus cut by the sword. Truly one of the 
most revolting massacres in cold blood recorded 
in history. In most parts of Europe people do 
not need to be told how to qualify a secret, sudden 
and deadly attack like this on an army which is 
spoken of and has claims to be treated as a friend 
by the would-be assailants. To murder in their 
sleep unsuspecting soldiers with whom you smoked 
and chatted and played cards a short while before, 
is a crime which most cultured peoples would 
recoil from in horror. The Bulgarians perpetrated 
it for their country's sake. . . . History will draw 
a veil over these abominations, and contemporaries 
will forget them soon. But there are times when 
it is well to realise how near to the surface the 
human beast lies vigilant in some nations hastily 
set down as civilised." 

It is pleasant, after the recapitulation of such 



272 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

revolting details, to turn to a development which, 
if it reflects no greater credit upon Bulgarian diplom- 
acy, nevertheless is invested with a certain comic 
relief. It might have been anticipated that the 
Bulgars, immediately they found that the moral 
of the Serbs and Greeks was not such a minus 
quantity as they had arrogantly estimated, would 
have blamed the incident upon some unfortunate 
staff officer and presented a complete apology to 
Greece and Servia. Instead of adopting some such 
subterfuge as a cloak to their treachery, however, 
they, with magnificent audacity, actually delivered 
a note to the Great Powers on ist July, 19 13, 
protesting against an alleged Greco-Servian attack. 
The reader, now au courant with the real course 
of events, will readily appreciate the unintentional 
humour of the Bulgarian communique^ which read 
as follows: 

" According to the reports of the chief of our 
Macedonian army, the Greeks, in the environs 
of Leftera, and the Serbs, around Zletovo, near 
Istib, yesterday attacked our outposts without any 
apparent cause or any provocation on our part. 

" Behind the Servian front a notable movement 
of troops was then observed, and at Krivolak, 
on the line from Uskub to Salonika, artillery and 
' numerous troops were concentrated. 

" This simultaneous attack by the Greeks and 
Serbs appears to have been premeditated and 
effected with the intention of provoking our 
troops, who, having exercised prolonged patience, 
were finally obliged to reply. 



THE STAB IN THE BACK 273 

" We infinitely regret that at the very moment 
when we were about to come to a decision relative 
to the partition of the conquered territory, the 
Greeks and Servians should have provoked us by 
sanguinary incidents which may have very serious 
consequences. Under these circumstances, we 
decline all responsibility for the situation thus 
created and for all consequences which may result 
therefrom." 

Finally, apparently with the idea that the policy 
of " bluff " could be continued indefinitely. General 
Savoff, convinced of the failure of his manoeuvre, 
and realising that he had let loose the dogs of war, 
telegraphed an order to terminate hostilities — follow- 
ing which the journalists of Sofia advised the world 
that Bulgaria had protested against the unjustifiable 
attacks of Greece and Servia, which were (or would 
have been) especially reprehensible at a moment 
when a pacific settlement of the territorial dispute 
was impending. It was further announced, through 
the same medium, that strict orders had been issued 
to the Bulgarian troops to desist from hostile opera- 
tions, and only to retaliate in case they were again 
attacked by the Servians or Greeks. 

This wilful misrepresentation of facts triumphed 
for twenty-four hours only ; until, in effect, the 
Greek and Servian Governments submitted their 
respective versions of the Bulgarian aggression. 

The responsibility for the commencement of this 
cruel war, this repugnant outrage against civilisation 
and humanity, which drew a bloody toll of 40,000 
lives, lies then at the door of King Ferdinand's 

s 



274 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

statesmen. If any shadow of justificacion ever 
existed, it was surely destroyed by the treachery 
of the attack and the premeditated, cowardly attem|)L 
of the culprit, with an utter disregard for elementary 
truth, to enshroud the innocent with the mantle of 
his own guilt. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

THE OPENING MOVES 

The Fight in Salonika. — In view of the serious- 
ness of the enemy's attack, and the fact that, despite 
the increduhty of Europe, war, real war, had actually 
been begun without the customary formal declar- 
ation, the Greeks cannot be accused of harsh action 
in deciding to remove the Bulgarian garrison in 
Salonika, and to thus free their II Division for 
service at the front. The temptation to offer the 
enemy no option to unconditional surrender, and 
thus to weaken King Ferdinand's forces by over 1300 
picked men, must have been great. It was, how- 
ever, decided to allow the troops to leave the town 
— of course, unarmed — and, at 4.40 p.m. on the 30th 
June, the Greek General commanding addressed the 
following ultimatum to the Colonel of the Bulgarian 
battalion : 

" Salonika, 

" 30/^ June, 19 1 3, 
"4.40 -p.m. 
" The Bulgarian army having commenced 
hostilities against our troops, I have the honour 
to request you to leave the town of Salonika 
within one hour from the receipt of this letter. 
The arms of your troops must be delivered to 

275 



276 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

officers who will be designated for that purpose ; 
your officers may retain their swords. A special 
train will transport your troops to our outposts, 
and measures will be taken to ensure their 
security. 

"After expiration of the delay herewith indi- 
cated, I shall, to my great regret, be obliged to 
give the order that your troops are to be considered 
and treated as a hostile force. 

" General Constantine Kalaris." 

The delay accorded was subsequently extended to 
two hours at the instance of the French Consul, who 
hoped to be able to induce the Bulgarian Commander 
to leave the town. Mr JousseHn's efforts, however, 
availed nothing, for though every hour was precious 
to the garrison, they had no intention of accepting 
the Greek offer of a safe conduct to their own lines. 
Their action had been carefully planned, and they 
had cheerfully accepted the risk of defending their 
citadels until a few hours later when their comrades 
should arrive with the scalps of the Greek army 
hanging from their belts. 

It is affirmed on excellent authority that, during 
the course of the previous week, General Hassap- 
djieff, the representative of the Bulgarian Govern- 
ment, had called together his officers, and having 
informed them that war was inevitable, and having 
exposed the plan of action so far as it concerned 
Salonika, added, that if they wished to proceed to 
headquarters he was ready to issue their fetdlles 
de route. He promised them, however, that if they 
decided to resist, the Bulgarian army would enter 
Salonika in nine hours. 





HOUSES OCCUPIED BY THE BULGARIAN SOLDIERS DURING 
THE FIGHT IN SALONIKA. 



THE OPENING MOVES 277 

With such a triumph in view, the invitation to 
fight could not be refused. 

Documentary evidence, subsequently discovered 
in the Bulgarian quarters, shows that the Bulgarians 
had prepared a general attack against Salonika for 
Wednesday, 2nd July. For that reason. General 
Hassapdjieff left the town on Monday, 30th June. 
It was anticipated that the garrison would be given 
a delay of twenty hours in which to leave, and it 
would thus have been necessary to offer a resistance 
of several hours only before the general commence- 
ment of hostilities. 

The Bulgars had installed themselves in half a 
dozen quarters of the town, and around each the 
Greeks had placed strong detachments of troops, 
thus rendering escape impossible. Against the prin- 
cipal Bulgarian stronghold, situated in the Boule- 
vard Hamidie, the Greeks showered bullets from the 
houses opposite, while from quick-firing guns posted 
on top of the famous White Tower, a murderous 
leaden hail swept up the street at given intervals. 
A Bulgarian sentry stood rigid at his post until a 
well-directed shot flung him to the dust, and, little 
by little, the defenders were forced to seek refuge 
in the basements. At the post office the men 
fought with Cretans attacking them from below, and 
bombs bursting among them from above, until resis- 
tance became hopeless suicide. In the houses near 
the old mosque of St Sophia, they withstood the 
attack till the plaster was riddled with bullets, and 
the walls had been opened from roof to pavement 
by shell fire. At the mosque itself treachery stained 
the Bulgarian record, for there four defenders 



278 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

hoisted a white flag, and subsequently fired upon 
the approaching Cretans, kilHng three of the brave 
islanders. Then the gendarmes rushed the build- 
ing, and the twenty Bulgarians who remained inside 
paid the penalty. Through the long night, bullets, 
shells, and bombs played their several parts in 
ending the resistance; one by one the citadels 
surrendered, and the Bulgarians, leaving their dead 
to the care of the ruined houses, were marched off 
to their prison transports. The men, deserted by 
general and officers, had stood tenaciously at their 
posts, displaying a bravery all the more commend- 
able because they were fighting a losing battle. 
The total casualties were 31 Bulgarians and 33 
Greeks killed and wounded. 

The fight in Salonika had attained two desirable 
military objects. It had cleared the town of Bul- 
garians, and it had freed the Greek II Division 
for service at the front. In addition, the incident 
served another purpose: it justified the arrest of 
Bulgarian " komitadji," and the perquisition in the 
local Bulgarian houses, concerning which a tremen- 
dous howl of indignation had been sent up from 
Sofia. There had, from the very commencement, 
been little reason in this. The seizure of arms, 
ammunition, gun-cotton, and bombs should have 
been amply sufficient to silence criticism, but it 
apparently necessitated an open demonstration of 
hostile intent to convince Europe that the measures 
adopted by the Greeks to suppress the unfriendly 
preparations, which were being made under their 
very noses, were something other than spiteful 
measures of repression directed against a subject 



THE OPENING MOVES 279 

population, which presumably desired but the right 
to live in peace and tranquillity under the flag of an 
allied state. 

Looking back on the incident, it must be said 
that the Greek authorities did their work very well. 
Public tranquillity was untroubled, and every effort 
was made to induce the enemy to surrender. Time 
and again, at the risk of their lives, Bulgar-speaking 
Hellenes approached the besieged troops and begged 
them not to uselessly sacrifice themselves, only to 
be met with the answer, " What can we do ? Our 
officers have deserted us after giving us orders to 
resist to the end, and we must fight on.'' 

The officers, less confident than the men in the 
ability of their General to return in the promised 
nine hours, all collected in a house, from whence 
some, disguised as women, effected their escape ; 
the others surrendered. No officers figure among 
the killed and wounded! 

The Greek Concentration. — With che libera- 
tion of the n Division, the Greek forces completed 
their concentration, and the eight divisions occupied 
the positions hereunder stated, and which are more 
clearly indicated on the detailed map of the batde 
of Kilkich : 

VII. East end of Lake Beshik. IV. Dautbali. 

I. Langavuk. V. Topsin. 

VI. Laina. III. Doyandzi. 
II. Salonika. X. Bohemitza. 

The strength of the Bulgarian army massed 
against the Greeks has been the subject of much 
discussion, and while their actual numbers will never 
be made known to the general public, there can be 



280 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

little doubt that the several estimates which eman- 
ated from Bulgarian sources after the initial Greek 
victories were grossly misleading. Defeats must of 
necessity be explained, and while it is but natural 
that the Bulgarians should claim to have been out- 
numbered by their victors, it is obvious that state- 
ments issued from their side, even if subsequently 
backed by soi-disant official documents, must be 
accepted with great reserve. The first official Bul- 
garian estimate that they had but 26,000 men under 
arms, like the information I subsequently obtained 
from private Bulgarian sources, that General 
Ivanoff's army numbered 40,000 bayonets, may be 
at once dismissed as incorrect. The last Bulgarian 
version fixes the force at fifty-seven battalions, thirty- 
five batteries of artillery, and ten squadrons of 
cavalry. 

Though the methods adopted by King Constan- 
tine's staff to ascertain the strength of their enemy 
do not permit one to speak with more than an 
approximate degree of certainty, they are, neverthe- 
less, the most trustworthy available, and give us 
figures which are in any case more worthy of 
credence than any chiffre put forward as part of a 
scheme designed with the object of explaining the 
subsequent Bulgarian rout. After the battle of 
Kilkich, I was informed by the Greek General 
Staff that on the basis of the information obtained 
from an examination of the clothing of the dead and 
wounded, and a verbal examination of prisoners, they 
considered that the Bulgarian force opposed to them 
on the entire front numbered between eighty and 
eighty-eight battalions. This estimate, it is inter- 



THE OPENING MOVES 281 

esting to note, was supported at a later date 
by official documents seized after the Bulgarian 
evacuation at Serres. Amongst these was found 
a confidential report drawn up by Lieutenant- 
Colonel Popoff of the Bulgarian General Staff, and 
it shows that on 4th June, 191 3, the 2nd Bulgarian 
Army was composed of eighty-three battalions, one 
battalion of sappers, one regiment and seven squad- 
rons of cavalry with two hundred and sixteen pieces 
of cannon. Part of this force (one brigade of 
Thracian Infantry) was subsequently moved up 
against the Serbs, but as we know that right up to 
the outbreak of war troops were continually passing 
westward through Serres, it is quite possible that 
the losses were made good. 

While, therefore, I consider it not improbable 
that the Bulgarians massed against the Greeks on 
ist July actually numbered eighty battalions, it is 
naturally impossible to obtain conclusive evidence 
of this. I consequently prefer to confine my estimate 
to the forces whose presence I feel able to attest, 
and I thus arrive at the following minimum figures : 

INFANTRY Battalions 

July 1-4. The army of operation (General Ivanoff) . . 66 

,, 5. Reinforcements — One Brigade of VI Division 
,, 18. Reinforcements — At least one Brigade of IV Army 
,, 22. Reinforcements — One Brigade of IX Division 
,, 22. Reinforcements — At least one Brigade of XII 
Division ....... 



TOTAL BULGARIAN FORCE DURING WAR 
GREEK ARMY OF OPERATION 



73 



' The Greek battalions were at full strength, viz. 1000 
bayonets. There is reason to believe that in many instances 
Bulgarian battalions were under strength. 

'After the advance from Menlik, the VIII Division commenced 



282 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

ARTILLERY 

Batterias 
ACKNOWLEDGED STRENGTH OF BULGARIAN ARTILLERY AT 

THE BATTLE OF KILKICH-LAHANA . . . -35 

GREEK CANNON IN ACTION AT KILKICH-LAHANA . . • 36 ' 

In these figures I have included mountain batteries. 

Note. — The brigades by which the Bulgarian Army 
was reinforced doubtless brought their cannon with 
them, and we know, in fact, that the whole of the 
artillery of the IV Army, which had been opposed to 
the Servians at Istib, was attached to General IvanofT 
after the fall of Strumnitza. This fact is worthy only of 
passing notice, for so many of the enemy's guns fell 
into the hands of the Hellenes as the result of their 
sequence of victories, that the reinforcements did little 
more than replace the losses. 

CAVALRY 

Squadrons 
THE BULGARIAN CAVALRY COUNTED ID 

THAT OF THE GREEKS 8 

I trust that I have succeeded in deahng fairly with 
a much debated question. So overwhelming were 
the Greek victories that I am convinced that the 
addition of one or two hostile brigades would have 
affected their ultimate success but little. 

There can be no doubt in the mind of anyone who 
was thrown into constant contact with the Bulgarian 
officers in Salonika that their chief object was the 
speedy capture of the Macedonian seaport. General 
Hassapdjieff, who was well aware of even the secret 
dispositions of the Greek army, must have known 

to arrive, but it was dispatched into Thrace to act as an army 
of occupation, and took no part in the fighting. 

' Six Greek batteries remained at Tsaigesi and did not par- 
ticipate in the engagement. 




The Battl 















fr 












yjlk'E./ 












^ 


t m 












•fKcyeil/ V%\x 










Hamzoili 

1 

*•* 




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f: 


r?.) 


'"'■^•-•''.Serres 


1.^ 


Orliakh 


C^ 


SI 


S^'* 






OF KiLK/CH. 



THE OPENING MOVES 283 

that Salonika was defended by an elaborate system 
of fortifications (upon which a considerable number 
of cannon were mounted) and by a steel ring of 
70,000 bayonets. To have contemplated a speedy 
conquest of this force with even eighty battalions 
demanded the exercise of no little optimism ; to have 
attempted it with less would have been sheer folly. 
Though the secret of the Greco-Servian treaty 
alliance was well kept, the Bulgarians were, towards 
the end of June, quite aware that they would have 
to reckon with the united strength of both armies. 
Indeed, exactly one week before the outbreak of 
hostilities General Hassapdjieff discussed the possi- 
bilities very frankly with me in Salonika. He then 
maintained that his Government had an army of 
5CX),ooo men in the field, and that they could easily 
overwhelm the combined Servian and Greek forces. 
Upon that occasion I insisted that I found myself 
unable to credit the Bulgars with more than 400,000 
bayonets, and that I was firmly convinced that any 
attempt to seize the disputed territory by force would 
inevitably result in a Bulgarian catastrophe. The 
General smiled. 



CHAPTER XXV 

THE BATTLE OF KILKICH 

If Nature has designed to facilitate the defence of 
Salonika, she has at the same time provided admir- 
able points of vantage from which an attack on 
the seaport can be directed. Between the Gulf of 
Orfano on the right and the Vardar River on the left, 
the lakes of Beshik and Langazar with their surround- 
ing marshland stretch for a distance of nearly 50 
kilometres until the main road running north-east 
to Serres is reached. To the west of the road rise 
the heights of Baldja and Dautbali, which command 
not only the trough of the Vardar River, but also 
the low-lying land which descends to the Gulf 
of Salonika. North of the lakes rises another 
range of mountains culminating at Lahana, a point 
663 metres above sea level, and at the foot of 
which passes the Serres road. To the east the 
railway to Serres runs along a plain between the 
mountains to Kilkich (from whence an advance 
across the plain is commanded), and thence to 
Doiran. It was, therefore, natural that Kilkich with 
its strategical advantages and its railway communi- 
cations with Doiran and Serres — the headquarters 
of the Bulgarian civil and military administration of 
Macedonia — should have been chosen as a centre 
of concentration. For nine months the Bulgars 

284 



THE BATTLE OF KILKICH 285 

had been feverishly engaged in supplementing its 
natural defences by the construction of elaborate 
fortifications, and the work was accomplished with 
fitting thoroughness. 

They had likewise thrown up entrenchments and 
placed guns in position on the heights of Lahana, 
and thus not only provided themselves with admir- 
able bases for their projected attack upon Salonika, 
but held the two routes along which an opposing 
army could advance. 

When hostilities broke out the Serbs and Bulgars 
were already at close quarters and the battle royal 
commenced immediately. The Greeks and Bul- 
garians were, however, at some distance from one 
another, and the Hellenes advanced a day's march 
northwards before they encountered their enemy. The 
proximity of the armies of Prince Alexander and 
General Kovatcheff was due to the great strategic 
value of the Bregalnitza River, and both the com- 
batants had planned to secure possession of it at 
the earliest possible moment. There was no such 
inducement in the southern theatre. Kilkich and 
Lahana were the obvious fortresses for the Bul- 
garians, and the Greeks kept their entire army well 
back on Salonika. The first shock was therefore 
felt on the Serbo-Bulgarian front, and while General 
Putnik decided to attempt to throw his enemy back 
on Kotchana, he telegraphed to Salonika requesting 
the Greek staff to rush the three divisions of their 
left wing up to Gievgeli in order that they might 
attack the Bulgars in the direction of Strumnitza and 
co-operate with the Servian right on Istib. 

It is difficult for the layman to see how the 



286 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

adoption of such strategy would have been other 
than fatal for the Greeks. Their extreme right was 
well able to take care of itself, but it is highly prob- 
able that the complete subtraction of three divisions 
from the operations in the centre would have per- 
mitted the Bulgarians to have advanced from Kilkich 
and Lahana. Moreover, the enemy would have 
been able to move down along the railway line 
towards Salonika. So far from splitting the Bul- 
garian forces in two, the manoeuvre might easily 
have resulted in a fatal division of the Greek forces. 

If, on the other hand, the movements of the 
Servian army are left out of consideration, the most 
satisfactory plan for the Greeks would seem to have 
called for the concentration of the bulk of their army 
farther east, from whence they could have conducted 
a general attack on Kilkich and Lahana. This 
theory becomes still more feasible when it is remem- 
bered that the unique routes for the transport of 
Bulgarian reinforcements or supplies lay along the 
railway from Demir Hissar to Doiran, or the road- 
way along the Strumnitza Valley to the town of that 
name. It was therefore of vital importance to the 
allies that possession of these roads should be 
threatened at the earliest possible moment. That 
fact alone would have led to the immediate retreat 
of the Bulgarian armies in both theatres. Indeed, 
as events subsequently demonstrated, immediately 
the Greeks bore down upon the Strumnitza Valley, 
to the north of Doiran, the Bulgars commenced their 
retreat from Istib, 

Between these two extremes — the one the desire 
of the Servian staff and the other his own ideal — 




;^^/^*^ 
/j/^. 



GEORGE, DUKE OF SPARTA. 
Crown Prince of Grepce. 



THE BATTLE OF KILKICH 287 

King Constantine chose what proved to be the 
happy medium. Instead of making his chief objec- 
tive Kilkich and Demir Hissar and Petritch on the 
right, he advanced towards Kilkich and Doiran on 
the left, leaving to the three divisions (I, VI and VI J), 
which formed his right wing, the duty of driving 
his foe from Lahana and checking a subsequent 
retreat along the railway. His object, therefore, 
was to seize the Bulgarian fortress at Kilkich, 
capture their base of supplies at Doiran, and forth- 
with threaten the rear of Kovatcheff's army, which 
was fighting the Serbs at Istib, by taking Strumnitza 
and cutting off their retreat along the valley. 

Thus, when His Majesty arrived at Salonika 
from Athens on ist July, he immediately issued the 
following ordre de jour: 

Headquarters, 

Salonika, 

\st July, 1913, 
8 f.m. 
Orders for 2nd July, addressed to: 
I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, and X Divisions, the 
Brigade of Cavalry, and the Army Services. 

1. Following yesterday's attack upon our feeble 

outposts, the enemy has to-day remained in- 
active. The prisoners taken at Salonika 
number 17 officers and 1300 men. 

2. Our army will to-morrow continue the forward 

movement which it commenced to-day, and will 
proceed to attack the enemy. 

3. The VII Division will advance to Nigrita. The 

initiative is left to its Commander, who, if he 



288 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

thinks it necessary, will proceed farther north 
towards the bridge of Orliak. 

4. The I Division will recommence its march at 

5 a.m. via Visoka and Zarovo, and advance 
towards the line Lahana-Likovan. I give to 
the Commanding Officer permission to turn 
towards the left in order to assist the right flank 
of the VI Division, with which he must keep 
in constant communication. 

5. The VI Division will commence its march at 5 

a.m. from Ajvatli, and advance by Guvesne 
towards the summit 605. 

6. The II Division will commence its march at 

5 a.m. from Baldja, and advance by Dautbali and 
Jemi Mah. On encountering the enemy it is to 
attack in deploying its left flank in the direction 
of the heights which lie to the west of Sarikoi. 

7. The IV Division will march from DautbaH at 

7 a.m., but must so govern its movements that 
the road from Baldja to Dautbali is left free 
for the passage of the II Division as from 5 a.m. 
The IV Division will march by Salamanli and 
Akceklise to encounter the enemy, when it will 
attack in deploying its right in contact with the 
left of the II Division, and its left towards the 
heights Sarikoi and Sarigol. 

8. The V Division will march from Nares at 7 a.m., 

and advance by the west of Lake Adzigol, and 
by the summit 250 towards Kilkich Lake. On 
encountering the enemy it will attack in deploy- 
ing its right in contact with the left of the 
IV, and its left towards Kilkich, 

9. The III Division will march from the height 246 



THE BATTLE OF KILKICH 289 

at 5 a.m., and will advance by Avret Hissar 
towards Kilkich. On encountering the enemy 
it will attack in deploying with its right towards 
Kilkich. 

10. The X Division will cross the Vardar and march 
from Karasuli at 8 a.m. to attack the enemy 
lying near Kalinova and to the north of that 
position. It will drive the enemy back and, 
according to the tactical necessities of the 
moment, will attempt to advance towards Kil- 
kich. The Commanding Officer of this division 
will estimate the situation and act on his own 
initiative in consequence, 

11. The Cavalry Brigade will work towards Kodza, 
OmerH and Kretzovo, in regulating its march 
by the advance of the III Division. It will 
maintain communication between the III and 
X Divisions. The Brigade must ascertain by 
reconnaissance if the enemy's force lies towards 
Kilkich-Kilindir and Kilindir-Kalinova, or if 
this force is in march from Doiran towards 
Kilkich. 

12. Each Division (and also the Cavalry Brigade) 
having driven back the enemy from their posi- 
tions, will follow up the retirement with the 
utmost vigour. 

13. My headquarters will be at Baldja at 8.30 a.m. 
to-morrow, when the officers of communication, 
excepting those of the I, VII, and X Divisions 
and the Cavalry Brigade, must be in attendance. 

CONSTANTINE R. 

These orders are exceptionally clear, and plainly 

T 



290 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

indicate the Greek plan of operations over a front 
extending from the Gulf of Orfano to the Vardar 
River — a distance of over sixty miles. I exclude 
the Panghaion, because, after a line of demarcation 
was agreed upon between the two countries, the 
Greeks were there represented only by small out- 
posts, and retired the division west of the Struma. 
Throughout the campaign the action spread over a 
very wide front, and made it impossible for one to 
pay more than spasmodic visits to any part of the 
field, and at the same time keep in touch with the 
general movements of the troops. 

By their surprise attack on 30th June the Bul- 
garians drove the Hellenic outposts west of the 
Struma, and occupied the port of Leftera. There 
were no developments on ist July, but on the morn- 
ing of 2nd July the Greek divisions left their con- 
centrations and marched north in accordance with 
the orders of their Commander-in-Chief. 

The VI Division came in touch with the Bul- 
garians who were entrenched on summits 440 and 
395, and after a short engagement occupied the 
heights of Kara Tepe. The II Division found the 
enemy at the village of Amberkoi, and on summit 
280. They attacked about midday. The battle 
raged for some hours, but the Greeks eventually 
stormed the positions and took them at the point of 
the bayonet. The success was dearly bought, how- 
ever, for the casualties were heavy, and included the 
Colonel of the VII Regiment. The Bulgarians 
retired towards their entrenchments south of Kilkich, 
while the Greek division halted between Jeni-Mah 
and Dzurna. 



THE BATTLE OF KILKICH 291 

The IV Division encountered nothing more than 
a desultory artillery fire directed from the heights 
of Hassan Obasi, but the V Division had a running 
fight with the Bulgarians the whole day, and after 
a succession of combats arrived west of Hassan 
Obasi. 

Similarly the III Division was opposed during the 
whole of its northward march by a strong, hostile 
force, and its progress was thereby slightly — though 
not materially — delayed. 

The X Division, which was made up of eight 
battalions of Evzones, had the busiest time of all. 
Having crossed the Vardar River, they attacked and 
defeated a Bulgarian force in position at Orevitza 
and Ardzan, and then turned towards the enemy 
entrenched between Kalinovo and Mihalovo. 

If the first day's fighting had largely consisted 
in the driving in of the Bulgarian advance guard, 
the combats were nevertheless severe. The Bulgars 
held entrenched positions, mostly upon commanding 
heights, from which they raked the advancing 
Greeks with shot and shell. Despite the tropical 
weather, the Greeks had, with almost unhoped-for 
success, moved forward with truly remarkable 
speed, and everything pointed to the morrow as a 
critical day. The army orders for the next day 
were simply that all divisions should continue their 
advance. 

The initial movements of the VII Division were 
marked by a piece of successful strategy. The Bul- 
garian XI Division was concentrated on the left 
bank of the Struma, and it was considered desirable 
that it should not be allowed to cross the river. 



292 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

With a view, therefore, to masking his advance, 
Colonel Sautilis left a regiment and the whole of his 
wheeled artillery (six batteries) at the extreme mouth 
of the river, where it was joined by the fleet, the 
while he advanced with his remaining two regiments 
and mountain batteries on Nigrita. The manoeuvre 
attained its object, for the Bulgars, in the belief 
that the whole of the VII Division was before them, 
guarded their positions. Ere they discovered their 
mistake, it was too late, and they were obHged 
to retreat towards Nevrekop. The men of this 
division, who had taken part in the combats of 
Nigrita and the Panghaion, were full of confidence 
in their abihty to emerge victorious from the struggle, 
and not only succeeded in driving off their enemy, 
but cleverly carried out a bold flanking movement, 
and captured an entire Bulgarian regiment together 
with its colonel and officers. It was a teUing stroke, 
as disconcerting to the one side as it was encourag- 
ing to the other. The Bulgars had, however, drawn 
compensation after their own manner, for the Hel- 
lenes entered Nigrita to find the town a smoking 
shambles, among which lay the inanimate bodies 
of its massacred Greek and Turkish inhabitants. 

On the morning of 3rd July the I and VI Divisions 
were steadily bearing down upon the strong Bul- 
garian positions at Lahana. The VI had found the 
enemy strongly entrenched on the summits 605 and 
534, and, in order to join in the attack, the I 
deployed in to the left west of Djami-Mah. The 
two divisions succeeded, after a sanguinary combat 
in which the bayonet was freely used, in driving the 
Bulgarians from the heights, and at nightfall the 



THE BATTLE OF KILKICH 293 

Greeks occupied the line Likovan (VI) -Berovo (I). 
The ultimate result of these operations was to force 
the enemy back on to their last line (663-502) 
commanding the stronghold of Lahana. 

In the principal theatre the other divisions con- 
tinued their attack on the fortified Bulgarian positions 
at Sarikoi-Sarigol-Durassanli, the outlying defences 
of Kilkich. The Greek II, III, IV, and V Divis- 
ions were engaged on this front, and the fight 
waged all day with ever-increasing intensity. The 
enemy was well placed in deep, narrow trenches, 
and as the ranges had obviously been measured in 
advance, the Hellenes were not only unable to 
bring their own artillery into action, but the infantry 
were compelled to advance across the parched, sun- 
baked plain, exposed to a terrific and well-directed 
fire from the hostile guns. Towards evening the 
Greek infantry were ordered to take the trenches by 
storm, and, singing patriotic songs, the men rushed 
across the open ground, and were soon fighting 
corps-a-corps with their foe. The combat waxed 
furious, and many are the tales of heroism which 
are told by the survivors. By sunset, the Greeks 
were in contact with the line Sarigol-Isiklar-Dautli, 
which was subsequently occupied during a night 
attack. 

That evening. King Constantine telegraphed to 
Admiral Condouriotis : 

" The enemy has been beaten all along the 
line. We have captured many cannon and quick- 
firing guns, and a great quantity of rifles. At many 
places the enemy was attacked at the point of 



294 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

the bayonet. The capture of Kilkich is immi- 
nent." 

The royal message admirably summed up the 
situation. The King, aided by the wonderful 
enthusiasm of his army, had advanced with remark- 
able speed, and had given his adversary no time to 
recover, and he was swiftly investing their fortress 
of Kilkich. Any doubt as to the ferocity of the 
fighting was set at rest by the enormous casualties. 
By the end of the second day no less than 4000 
wounded had arrived at Salonika, to which must 
be necessarily added the dead who lay on the field 
of battle, and the patients retained in the field 
hospitals. 

Up to this time the Hellenes had been sadly 
handicapped by the inaction of their artillery. So 
intimate was the enemy's acquaintance with the 
terrain that the appearance of a Greek gun on 
the plain proved sufficient to bring down a shower 
of shrapnel from the Bulgarian cannon. Thanks, 
however, to a reconnaissance made by the Cavalry 
Division — then to the west of the III Division — the 
II Division was, during the night 3rd-4th July, able 
to advance its artillery, place it in position against 
the enemy's line Sarikoi-Strezovo, and thus threaten 
the left of their forces defending Kilkich. The 
division itself deployed in the same direction, and 
at daybreak attacked Kilkich from Darizo and 
Kalikos. Towards 10 a.m. on 4th July, the infantry 
advanced under cover of the guns, and having cap- 
tured the heights of Strezovo and Sarikoey, they 
proceeded to attack the Bulgarians who were in the 



THE BATTLE OF KILKICH 295 

town itself and in positions to the north on height 
197. Their fortifications once captured, the enemy 
commenced to retire, and after an attack on the 
front, the retreat northward became general. The 
town of Kilkich was already in flames as the result of 
artillery fire when the Greeks entered — a fact worthy 
of attention, since it was afterwards alleged to have 
been burned in its entirety by the victorious army. 
In their retreat from Kilkich the enemy first formed 
into two columns, one of which concentrated to the 
north-west of the town towards Janos, and the other 
behind height 197. At this juncture the Greek 
cavalry, effecting a reconnaissance, observed a mass 
of retiring Bulgarians moving towards Janos, and 
communicated this information to the III Division, 
whose Commander immediately sent his artillery 
across the plain at the gallop, and occupied a position 
north of summit 202. From this vantage-point the 
guns shelled the Bulgars at a distance of only fifteen 
hundred yards, inflicting a heavy loss upon them. 
At the same time the cavalry charged the fugitives, 
who were dispersed in the direction of Kilindir. 

The other Bulgarian column again split into two 
fractions, one of which retreated in the direction of 
of Irikli and Moravtza, and the other via Mutlovo, 
Raianovo and Kamberli, both having as their destin- 
ation the valley of the Struma. 

Simultaneously with the assault on Kilkich, the 
two divisions of the right centre (I and VI) on 4th 
July prepared their attack upon the position 663 and 
502 defending Lahana. Advancing in battle form- 
ation, they arrived at a distance of six hundred 
yards from the Bulgarian trenches, which, like those 



296 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

of Kilkich, were well prepared and strengthened by 
numerous field guns and maxims, and occupied 
by a force approximately numerically equal to that 
of the Greeks. At Lahana itself the Serres road 
enters a pass overshadowed by high mountains, the 
summits of which (663) were held by the defending 
force. Summit 502 is situated about three miles 
to the south-west, and not only protected Lahana 
against a flanking movement, but controlled the road 
north from that village. Therefore, had Lahana 
been forced, troops advancing along the highway 
could have been freely shelled from 502. As a 
preliminary manoeuvre, the Greeks threatened this 
position, with the result that the enemy, refusing 
battle, evacuated the mountain and retired to a hill 
about a mile to the north, from whence they could 
both render more effective aid to Lahana, and exer- 
cise a better control over the road. 

The final assault was timed for 3 p.m. The 
altitude of the Bulgarian positions, and the broken 
nature of the ground, materially detracted from the 
value of the Greek artillery, and finding that reliance 
must again be placed almost entirely upon the 
infantry, the Hellenes fixed bayonets and proceeded 
to work up the hill. Much of the fiercest fighting 
of the whole battle here occurred. Men fell in their 
hundreds under the murderous fire from the heights,^ 
but advancing with supreme courage and a total 
disregard for life, the troops, taking advantage of 
what cover they could find, got right up to the Bul- 
garian works. Still the defenders held fast, and 

' The losses of the VI Division alone amounted to 19 officers 
and 805 men. 



THE BATTLE OF KILKICH 297 

a hand-to-hand tussle took place in the trenches. 
From the trenches on they went to the guns, where 
the same fierce determination was manifested on 
both sides. In several cases after the battle the 
soldiers of the two armies were found dead, trans- 
fixed on one another's bayonets. Greek 61an 
carried the day, however, and the Bulgarians retired, 
leaving behind them 2 1 cannon, of which 1 1 were 
quick-firers, and 3 machine guns, and an immense 
quantity of stores. 

In the meantime the Hellenes had hauled artillery 
up to the summit 502, from whence they commenced 
to shell the retiring Bulgars. The retreat was thus 
turned into an utter rout, one column making for 
the bridge over the Struma at Orliak, and another 
via Kadjali, whence they reached the same water- 
way. A regiment of the II Division pursued the 
fugitives for a couple of hours, and the Greek 
divisions halted for the night between Lahana and 
Orliak (I) and Lahana and Ravna (VI). During 
the Bulgarian retreat the Greek VII Division, fol- 
lowing an engagement north of Nigrita, approached 
the Bridge of Orliak, with the result that part of the 
hostile column, which retired along the Serres road, 
found their retreat cut off, and were obliged to turn 
north and follow the valley of the Struma towards 
Kopriva. 

On the extreme left the X Division continued its 
operations against the Bulgars, who were at once 
opposing an advance on Strumnitza round the east 
of Lake Doiran, and protecting the retreat of their 
main force from Kilkich. The enemy held a very 
strong position at Kalinovo, and it was to this 



298 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

that the Evzones turned their attention on 3rd July. 
They attacked the trenches of their adversary in 
force, and succeeded, after a prolonged combat, 
during which they suffered enormous losses, in driv- 
ing him back on Gokseli. But the Bulgarians, who 
had at the outbreak of hostilities occupied Gievgeh, 
now re-crossed the river, and descended in the rear 
of the division. The Greeks were thus prevented 
from following up their victory at Kalinovo, and 
turned to meet the new-comers, whom they eventually 
succeeded in driving towards Pobreg, 

The following morning (4th July) the X Division 
turned once more towards the Bulgars at Gokseli, 
who had in the meantime been reinforced by a 
brigade (eight battalions) of the Bulgarian VI 
Division from Doiran. 

But the Greek army, after its four days' continuous 
marching and fighting under the broiling July sun, 
was in need of repose, and there was a slight aitente. 
The II Division was ordered to rest at Kurkut, the 
IV in Kilkich, the V towards Irikli, and the III at 
Janos. Only a brigade of cavalry and the artillery 
of the III Division were sent in pursuit of the 
enemy. The cavalry eventually reached Hirsova, 
south of Kilindir, where it was checked by further 
fractions of the VI Division, which had descended 
from Doiran. 

Although the Greek army almost immediately 
continued its advance — indeed, the forward move- 
ment never actually ceased — we cannot do better 
than take advantage of this lull in the operations 
to consider some of the aspects of the great battle 
of Kilkich-Lahana. The task which had been set 



THE BATTLE OF KILKICH 299 

the Greeks was worthy the metal of any army. All 
through the engagement the Bulgarians had occupied 
strongly fortified heights. Their deep, narrow 
trenches were practically invisible and well pro- 
tected by artillery fire, and but for the repeated 
bayonet charges of the Hellenes the fortress would 
undoubtedly have resisted attack for a prolonged 
period. Moreover, from their positions, the enemy 
had been able to control the entire plain, and, know- 
ing every inch of the ground, their fire was through- 
out very effective, and regimental commanders, as 
they mounted hillocks in order to direct the ad- 
vance of their troops, were at once made the object 
of personal attack. No less than six Greek regi- 
mental commanders were put out of action, several 
having been hit by live shell. 

The natural disposition of the country and the 
excellence of the defence works more than counter- 
balanced any numerical superiority which the Hel- 
lenes may have possessed, and the crushing nature 
of the defeat inflicted upon the enemy without doubt 
characterises this battle as one of the most important 
in the long history of Balkan wars. The Bulgarians 
abandoned a large number of guns and an enormous 
quantity of rifles, ammunition and stores. The 
Greek losses themselves bear eloquent testimony to 
the severity of the combat. During the three days 
of battle they lost over 10,000 men, or 14 per cent 
of their fighting force. The casualties were occa- 
sioned, for the most part, by the effective fire of 
the Bulgarian artillery over previously measured 
ranges, while a goodly number were placed hors de 
combat as the result of hand-to-hand bayonet fights 



800 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

in the trenches. A comparatively small proportion 
of the wounds were serious. 

If it took those of us^ who virtually lived in the 
Greek camp some little time to realise the over- 
whelming nature of the Hellenic victory, despite 
the confirmatory evidence offered by the capture of 
strongly fortified citadels after a determined resist- 
ance, we may perhaps pardon the incredulity with 
which the news was at first received in Europe. 
While assisting in the work of attending to the most 
pressing requirements of the wounded, it was possible 
for me to converse with a large number of them, 
many of whom, thanks to a more or less prolonged 
residence in the United States, possessed an ade- 
quate knowledge of the English language. There 
was a convincing sameness about the testimony of 
these men which went much further than official 
reports to prove the completeness of the Bulgarian 
rout. They were soldiers who had seen with their 
own eyes the enemy flying panic-stricken from the 
battle-field, and who had, in many cases, received 
their wounds as a result of the almost foolhardy 
impetuosity with which they had rushed forward into 
the Bulgarian trenches. 

Since the Greeks surprised everybody (and not 
least the Bulgarians themselves), it is not uninter- 
esting to note the causes which contributed to the 
precipitated flight of an army which had not ceased 
to belittle, in the most arrogant manner, the military 
qualities of its opponents. The genesis of the 
Greek success was the very high order of general- 
ship exhibited by King Constantine and his staff, 
and the lead given to the troops by their Royal 



THE BATTLE OF KILKICH 801 

Commander-in-Chief. All evidences go to show 
that the attack from Gievgeli to Nigrita had 
been carefully worked out in the minutest detail, 
and the movements were executed with manoeuvre- 
like precision. All the cleverness of the General 
Staff, however, would have been of little avail had 
the King's battalions failed him. But they did not 
fail, and His Majesty himself must have been amazed 
at the manner in which his peasant soldiers seconded 
his efforts. 

The officers, too, were splendid. I well remem- 
ber, some few weeks after the great combat, sitting 
in a Salonika tramcar opposite to a Greek soldier 
with a bandaged foot. 

"You English feller?" he twanged out with a 
thick American accent as he glanced at the copy 
of the Times which I was reading. 

I pleaded guilty. 

" What you doin' here ? " was his next effort. 

" Looking for trouble," I repHed carelessly, with 
a due sense of my journalistic responsibilities. And 
then I took up the cross-examination. 

" What do you do in America } " 

" Pea-nuts/' he jerked out. 

" Where did you get hurt ? '' 

" Lahana," he responded, and then, finding I was 
interested, he brightened up considerably. 

" Say, you fellah," he continued, " know anything 
about fightin' } " 

" I've seen a little during the last eighteen 
months," I said. 

" Wall, say feller ! that was a great fight, Lahana. 
Yes, sir! Search me! Yer see them dem Bulgars 



302 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

was up on the top of the hill in trenches with cannon 
and all the rest of it. Our guns couldn't get at 
'em, so we had to scramble up the mountain. Our 
officer was great. Yes, sir, he was the real thing. 
' You stay right here, boys,' he says, and then he 
goes crawling along until he finds shelter. ' Now 
come on here, one after the other,' he shouts, and 
when he'd got us all under cover, off he goes again 
hisself ter find another hole. So we got up near 
the Bulgars' trenches, and then we gave a shout and 
rushed at 'em with our bayonets, and cleaned 'em 
right out, 'cos they had to go, yer know — 'twern't 
no good their waitin'." 

"And your officer?" I asked. 

" Ah ! " he replied, " pore feller, he got a bit o' 
lead in his head half-way up the hill; but he was 
great, I tell yer, real great ! " 

The artillery, always excellent, surpassed itself, 
spreading fear and panic into the Bulgarian camp. 
But the most surprising feature of the battle was the 
magnificent elan of the Greek infantry, which, despite 
a well-nourished fire from the Bulgarian guns, led 
them into the enemy's trenches right on to the hostile 
bayonets of their stubborn, determined, and gallant 
foe. The spirit of the Greek rank and file was 
magnificent. Patriotically possessed of a total dis- 
regard for danger, they rushed forward to victory or 
death ; and if laid low by bullet or bayonet, they 
bore suffering with cheerful grace, for these men, 
after long hours of exposure on the field, jolting 
in crude ambulance wagons, and tiresome journeys 
in goods trucks, drew into Salonika sending up 
resounding cheers for King and country. In short, 



THE BATTLE OF KILKICH 303 

the battle of Kilkich was a story of a general who 
knew how to command and an army which knew how 
to obey. 

The Bulgarians themselves, however, had laid the 
foundation of their defeat. The contempt in which 
they held their former allies led them into a fatal 
miscalculation of the military value of the forces 
opposed to them. They expected to cut through 
the Servians like cheese and scatter the Greeks as 
sheep on the mountain-side. They anticipated a 
few hours' resistance on the outskirts of Salonika, to 
be followed by a glorious entry into the Macedonian 
capital. They certainly never imagined that King 
Constantine would immediately throw his battalions 
against their magnificently fortified positions at 
Kilkich and Lahana; still less did they dream of 
the possibility of defeat. As to the Greek soldier of 
Kilkich, he may be said to have been a creation 
of Bulgarian arrogance. 

One interesting effect of the peace-time attempts 
at aggression on the part of the Bulgars now became 
universally apparent in military and political circles. 
Whereas in the early days of their association the 
Greeks were obsessed by a respect, almost amount- 
ing to fear, of the Bulgarian soldier, the combats 
of the Panghaion and Nigrita — ^where their unaided 
infantry had repulsed an attack by a superior Bul- 
garian force assisted by artillery and cavalry^ — served 
to familiarise them with their future enemy, and gave 
birth to a spirit of confidence. While these incidents 
set many a Salonicien wiseacre wagging his head in 
wonderment, the moral of the Greeks received a 
noticeable uplifting, and when they ultimately went 



304 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

into action before Kilkich there was not a single 
Hellene, from Commander-in-Chief to drummer-boy, 
but was convinced that the campaign could have only 
one ending — the triumph of Hellas over its heredi- 
tary foe. 




PART OF THE STORES ABANDONED BY THE BULGARIANS AT DOIRAN. 




BULGARIAN PRISONERS OF WAR. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

THE CAPTURE OF DOIRAN 

The track of a retreating army is a death-besprinkled 
tragedy. Just as that road of suffering and despair 
which marked the Turkish flight from Yenidje- 
Vardar will ever rest a vivid picture in the mind, 
so the trail of the Bulgars from Kilkich to Doiran 
will remain deeply imprinted in a memory already 
crowded with the kaleidoscopic events of the past 
year in Macedonia. 

It was a tableau drawn on a vaster scale^ in which 
a background of highways and hedges gave place to 
mountains and valleys, and it spoke with yet stronger 
voice of the pathos of defeat. To stand amid the 
blackened ruins of that once flourishing township of 
Kilkich, and scan the serried trenches, the formid- 
able redoubts and the gun-decked vantage-points 
which command the approaches from the rolling 
southern plain, and then to think of all we have heard 
and read and seen of the Bulgarian soldier, was to 
wonder what unseen hand had helped the Greeks to 
victory. 

The whole scene, when I saw it, was littered 
with the emblems of disordered flight. Knapsacks, 
water-bottles, hats, clothes — all bespoke a hurried 
exit. And these evidences of Greek victory con- 

805 y 



306 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

tinued along the tracks which serve for roads as we 
crossed the blackened fields (for the Bulgars had 
fired the crops to cover their retreat) and passed by 
hill and dale until we approached the rising slopes 
south of Doiran. The journey was full of the shady 
side of warfare. 

The thought of retiring from Kilkich had obviously 
entered little into Bulgarian calculations, for there- 
after there were few preparations for defence visible. 
Doiran, however, offers natural disadvantages to a 
defending army, of which the enemy did not fail to 
avail themselves, and the earthworks which had been 
more or less hurriedly thrown up transformed the 
position into one of considerable strength. Strategi- 
cally, the point was of the utmost importance to 
the Bulgarians, and they accordingly defended it 
stubbornly. That they failed to make still more 
complete preparations for the reception of their 
adversary must be attributed to the rapidity of the 
Greek advance. If the Bulgars had expected King 
Constantine to repeat their own tactics after their 
Thracian victories, and to allow his quarry to burrow 
a new hole the while his army recovered from the 
fatigue of the three days' attack on Kilkich, they 
misjudged their man, for the Royal Commander-in- 
Chief kept his troops on the march and set them at 
the Doiran heights with scant repose. 

It will have been already noted, in the preceding 
chapter, that the Bulgarians were retreating in three 
directions : their right and part of their centre in the 
general direction of Doiran, their centre towards 
Lake Butkova, and their left over the Struma towards 
Demir Hissar. The information at the disposal of 



THE CAPTURE OF DOIRAN 307 

Greek headquarters was that their enemy had forti- 
fied the mountain range of Kursha-Balkan, together 
with the naturally strong position of Dova-Tepe, 
which commands the railway line from Doiran. The 
next objective of the Hellenes was Doiran, and they, 
therefore, continued their advance on 5th July, as 
follows : 

II Division via Alexsia and Snevtze to 
Gidementi. 

IV Division via Irikli to Moravtza. 

V Division from Irikli towards Pateros and 
Surlovo. 

III Division by Janos and Kilindir on Doiran. 
X Division via Krastali and Doldzeli towards 

Hamzali with the object of outflanking Doiran. 

I Division via Kopriva along the valley of the 
Struma. 

VI Division via Kajali and along the valley of 
the Struma. 

VII Division was held in reserve at the bridge 
of Orliak, it being uncertain in which direction the 
Bulgarian XI Division would retreat. 

The last three divisions (I, VI, VII), then formed 
the Greek right wing and were placed under the 
command of General Manoussoyannakis. 

The strategic movement in three columns designed 
to envelop Doiran commenced on 6th July. The 
III Division met the Bulgarians at Kilindir and 
opened a vigorous attack. For some time the 
enemy's artillery, very favourably placed on the 
heights south of Doiran, succeeded in staying 
the Hellenic advance, but the advantage was soon 



808 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

neutralised, and when the V Division arrived on the 
same line, the invaders swept forward, and bayonets 
completed the work commenced by shrapnel. The 
X Division likewise forged ahead resolutely, until, 
finding themselves steadily driven back and with 
Pateros in danger, the Bulgars, after several hours 
of heavy fighting, evacuated Doiran, with the result 
that the Greek III Division occupied the town on 
the evening of 6th July. Many prisoners, an enor- 
mous quantity of stores and twelve cannon were 
captured. It is interesting to note that the latter 
were all charged ready to fire — a fact which testifies 
to the hurried flight of the enemy. 

The Bulgarian losses were great. A captured 
sergeant told me that of his company the captain 
was killed, the other officers wounded; he and six 
privates who surrendered being all that remained un- 
scathed. At another point in the field, an entire 
machine gun company, with its officer, was taken 
prisoner. 

When I arrived at Doiran an hour or so after King 
Constantine had there installed his headquarters, the 
scene bore eloquent testimony to the thoroughness 
of the Bulgarian rout. The approaches were littered 
with discarded impedimenta of every description. 
The hills and fields, their smooth brown monotony 
unbroken save by the newly evacuated trenches, were 
peopled with the still unburied bodies of the dead 
Bulgars which lay motionless in the summer sun. 
Along the railway line were strewn thousands of 
empty cartridges telling of the fierce resistance which 
had been offered to the advancing Hellenes, while 



THE CAPTURE OF DOIRAN 809 

at the station itself the Bulgarians had left hundreds 
of tons of provisions — boxes of sugar, bags of 
galettes, sacks of flour, cases of tea — booty which 
meant hungry stomachs for the battalions of beaten 
warriors who had just disappeared over the western 
hills.^ 

Doiran is an ugly picture in a beautiful frame. The 
great placid lake lies snugly nestled in an amphi- 
theatre of hills, dotted on their lower slopes by 
villages — then, alas, nothing but a heap of smoking 
ruins.! At the southern apex is Doiran itself — a 
hideous contrast to the alpine scenery it disgraces. 
With tender consideration for artistic feeling, the 
railway leaves the town away to the left, and the train 
draws in at the lake-side station on the eastern shore. 
We descended as a passing battery clouded the air 
with sandy dust. There remained many signs of 
the recently terminated Bulgarian occupation. The 
Slavic name on the station-house still peeped through 
its first coat of obliterating whitewash, the immense 
walls of Bulgar stores shut out the lake view, scores 
of Bulgarian prisoners awaited transport to Salonika, 
and stacks of hostile rifles that had ceased their 
murderous cackle lay piled in the sun. 

I passed the stern sentries — Greek sentries are 
not immobile — under cover of Prince Nicholas, and 
entered the Royal presence. This was Greek head- 
quarters. The Court was held in open air. For 
carpet, the cartridge-littered earth ; for furniture, two 

' The inventory of the stores left by the Bulgarians at Doiran 
was as follows : Flour, 162 tons ; cheese, 16^ tons ; rice, 3! tons ; 
beans, 37^ tons; biscuits, 51 tons; sugar, 45 tons; wheat, 3! 
tons; barley, 450 tons; bran, 37^ tons; hay, 450 tons; 60,000 tins 
of conserves; 50 sacks of lard; 25 cases of tea. 



810 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

rickety, black-painted deal kitchen tables and half a 
dozen locally made chairs whose broken joints had 
been crudely bandaged with steel wire. The throne, 
or more correctly, the only chair upon which His 
Majesty considered it safe to sit, was an old 
threadbare fauteuil which creaked incessantly under 
the unaccustomed strain. There were no purple 
panoplies, but instead improvised awnings of 
Willesden canvas which shaded the seriously 
wounded who lay at the feet of their General. 
Beyond the cordon of sentries who kept intruders 
at a respectable distance from the King, were war 
correspondents sitting on ammunition boxes scrib- 
bling gory tales of fierce bayonet charges that they 
had been just too late to see ; Turks, who on their 
own initiative, were bringing water to the thirsty 
troops ; and all the usual panorama of camp life. 
On the shady shore of the lake, some twenty yards 
in front of the rickety table and uncertain chairs, 
the heliograph was flashing orders to the rearguard 
eyes of the divisions perched on the heights of the 
mountains opposite. 

There was a short, brotherly meeting between 
King and Prince, following which His Majesty 
turned to me with a friendly greeting. 

Constantine XH looks every inch a king. Tall, 
and of massive build, he towers well above the 
average man. The square-set jaw tells of unusual 
determination ; the eyes bespeak merriment ; the 
whole countenance denotes a strong, clean, straight- 
forward character. When the King talks his words 
come fast, strong and pointed. 

"Well! What do you think of my soldiers? 



THE CAPTURE OF DOIRAN 311 

Splendid? Yes, they are wonderful — fought like 
lions. Do you remember telling me in Salonika 
that my men couldn't stand up to the Bulgars ? " 
(His Majesty's memory is unfortunately long.) 
" They didn't think I'd have the courage to attack 
them, what.'' Much less that we'd clear them out 
of their fortifications. Seen Kilkich.^ Wonderful 
place. Should have been held for weeks. The 
truth is that there was no stopping my troops. Their 
blood was up, and they were determined to hurl the 
Bulgarian taunts back in their teeth." 

" I think, sir," I replied, " that you have astonished 
everybody — most of all the Bulgarians. But your 
losses must have been very heavy ? " 

" Unfortunately yes ; we've lost a lot of men — 
10,000 out of action up till now, including 200 
officers and 7 regimental commanders. But it was 
worth it," reflected the King. "Just imagine, it's 
only a week since the Bulgarians attacked our out- 
posts, and here we are already at Doiran with the 
enemy in open retreat. Their resistance here was 
all in vain. Our artillery has inflicted enormous 
losses upon them, and they cannot withstand the 
shock of our bayonet charges. Where are they 
now? Just over yonder hills; the cannon ceased 
shortly before your arrival." 

I mentioned Nigrita, and the King stiffened as he 
told me of the horrors committed by the Bulgarian 
troops in their retreat. But it would serve no useful 
purpose to record here this part of our conversa- 
tion. There are journalists who have ventured to 
criticise King Constantine for the manner in which 
he lent his name to protests against these atrocities. 



812 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

I would that His Majesty's critics could have talked 
with him personally. They would have remarked, 
even as I did, the pathos with which the royal words 
were permeated as he told of the crimes committed 
against civilisation and humanity, the results of 
some of which he had been a horrified witness. 
Is it unkingly that a monarch, whose soldier's heart 
is rent by the sufferings of his people, should appeal 
to the judgment of Europe? Is it a grievous fault 
that a ruler should plead the cause of massacred 
innocents, of butchered babes, of outraged maidens, 
and of mutilated men before the tribunal of pubhc 
opinion? We rob kingship of much of its sanctity 
when we deny it the right to advocate the cause of 
defenceless humanity. Had there been less criticism 
and a wider acceptance of King Constantine's first 
appeals to Christian Europe, the probability is that 
the subsequent horrors of Demir Hissar, Serres and 
Doxato would not have further blackened the already 
too sordid pages of Balkan history. 

In the baggage-room of Doiran station, around 
rough, map-covered tables, sat the General Staff — 
in their shirt-sleeves. Colonel Dousmanis, as became 
the " Chief," reclined at the head in a dilapidated 
deck-chair, while officers with compass in hand 
measured distances and planned the future move- 
ments of the divisions. The General Staff of the 
Greek army was composed of young men who 
had passed with distinction through the military 
academies of Paris and Berlin. They brought to 
bear upon the problems which confronted them 
minds highly trained in the science of war, and 
moved huge masses of men with a facility which 



THE CAPTURE OF DOIRAN 818 

is not possessed, if we may judge from the results, 
by other Balkan armies. A great deal of absurd 
rubbish has been written concerning the relative 
fighting value of Servians, Greeks and Bulgarians. 
Bulgaria produces a warrior who is, physically, 
probably without a superior in the whole of Europe ; 
but it must, I think, be admitted by the most violent 
Hellenophobe that during the two campaigns with 
which we deal in this book, the palm for organisation 
and strategy must be awarded to the Greeks. The men 
were magnificently directed and led, and the writer, 
who confesses to neither " phils " nor " phobes " 
where Balkan States are concerned, and whose whole 
bias, if bias there be, is the result of the humanitarian 
conduct of the Greek soldier and the administrative 
ability of the Greek officials, in direct contrast to 
that demonstrated by the Bulgarians, gives it as 
his opinion that the most noteworthy generalship dis- 
played during the two wars was forthcoming from 
the Greek General Staff. 

But we have digressed, and must return to 
Doiran. 

The staff very considerately let me into the secrets 
of their strategy, but as the subsequent movements 
of the Greek divisions will be unfolded as our 
story continues, little advantage can accrue from an 
immediate exposure. Suffice it to say that so well 
calculated was the Greek advance, that we knew not 
only where the troops would be at any given hour, 
but also the probable military history of the morrow. 
The plot to trap the retreating Bulgarians in the 
Strumnitza Valley was carefully laid, and had the 
Servians succeeded in following up their quarry 



314 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

more quickly, there would have been little left of 
the Bulgarian armies from Kilkich and Istib. The 
Servians, however, were unable to work round in 
time, and the mass of fugitives were thus enabled to 
set their course for Pechevo. 

It was dusk. The sun had just set behind the 
western hills in a blaze of glory, and night was 
closing in — for there is little twilight in the Near 
East. The King stood beside the heliograph on 
the lake-side and beckoned me to him. Suddenly 
and simultaneously, there flashed from half a dozen 
hill-tops on the far side of the lake the messages 
from the divisions to the General Staff. It was but 
an example of the excellent organisation which then 
distinguished the Greek army, and I was expressing 
my natural admiration at the incident when " Boom ! 
Boom ! Boom ! " there echoed the report of a great 
explosion, and before the sounds had died away 
there curled up a great cloud of smoke from the road 
which skirts the lake. Out came the staff, binoculars 
in hand. 

" ' Komitadjis,' " said everyone. 

" They've blown up some rocks and blocked the 
road for the artillery," observed a more thoughtful 
mind. 

Then a message was flashed from the heights : 

"We see our own troops below; probably the 
artillery are widening the road to allow the guns 
to pass." 

Four times were the explosions repeated, when a 
cavalryman dashed up and reported that a shell in 
an ammunition wagon discarded by the Bulgarians 



'ir,''!-*'<"*^'iif.i\u.jK,u.„^4,,iJ4 




/ID VANCE 

OF 

GREEK LEFT 

AFTEH 

DOIRAN. 



5^32 I 
t ' ' ' -> — >- 



Kilometres. 



\ 



THE CAPTURE OF DOIRAN 815 

having exploded, the wagon was on fire and nobody 
would approach until it was ascertained that no live 
shells remained. What the object of this outrage 
was we shall probably never learn, but the charred 
body of a Bulgarian irregular was subsequently 
found among' the debris. 

Ere the excitement had subsided, night fell and 
displayed as entrancing a panorama as ever man 
beheld. All round the lake, nestled on the sides 
of the mountains and away across the country-side 
to the south and east, the long columns of smoke 
which had curled heavenwards the day long, vanished 
into invisibility and disclosed in their stead the 
outlines of blazing villages. It was magnificent but 
awe-inspiring. This, then, was the story of those 
blackened townships which dotted the land on the 
Bulgars' trail from Kilkich. Greek villages burned 
in the thirst for vengeance ; Bulgarian hamlets, 
deserted by their populations and fired lest the 
Greeks should find a haven there; others burned in 
revenge by the Hellenes. This was the toll of war. 
Ruins, ruins everywhere, and the unhappy victims 
of years of Macedonian strife were now to return to 
crumbling walls and the remains of what were once 
their homes. Poor, luckless Macedonians, helpless 
sufferers from the blight of ages. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

STRUMNITZA AND DEMIR HISSAR 

It would be difficult to over-exaggerate the military 
importance of the capture of Doiran. It was, m 
point of fact, the base of supplies for the two 
Bulgarian armies operating in Southern Macedonia. 
To this centre huge quantities of stores were trans- 
ported from Dedeagatch in preparation for the war, 
for it was obvious that one of the first operations 
of the Greek fleet would be to blockade that i^gean 
port, and it was doubtless with the object of pro- 
tecting these supplies that Kilkich had been so 
elaborately fortified. 

As I have already insisted, both the Bulgarian 
II and IV Armies were dependent upon the railway 
along the Struma Valley on the south of the Belesh 
Planina, and the roadway in the Strumnitza Valley on 
the north of that formidable mountain range. The 
Greek possession of Doiran, therefore, not only 
threatened the rear of the left wing of Kovatcheff s 
IV army which was opposed to the Servians at 
Istib, but also faced the Bulgarian Commander with 
a probable loss of his only line of retreat, for, though 
the infantry might disappear over mountain tracks, 
the retirement of the wheeled transport and artillery 
would necessarily have to be effected along the 

Strumnitza Valley to Petritch. 

316 



STRUMNITZA AND DEMIR HISSAR 817 

Simultaneously with his advance on the town of 
Strumnitza, whither the Bulgarians from Doiran had 
retired, King Constantine laid plans to trap both 
his own enemy and that opposed to the Servians, 
in the valley. He therefore enlarged upon the 
strategy which had won for him Sarandaporon, and 
while ordering his mobile division of Light Infantry 
(X) to carry out a wide flanking movement on 
Strumnitza via Terzseli, Cepelli and Poptzevo, he 
advanced the III Division, together with all his field 
artillery, along the Doiran-Strumnitza road, and sent 
the remaining three divisions, with their mountain 
batteries, over the mountain-tops; the V with the 
town, and the II and IV with the valley as their 
destination. It is naturally difficult for anyone un- 
familiar with Macedonia to appreciate the enormous 
difficulty of the task imposed upon these three 
divisions. Not only is the Belesh a range of 
imposing altitude, but the only routes over it consist 
of stony bridle paths which skirt its precipitous 
mountain-sides. The men were obliged to march 
up hill and down dale in single file, handicapped by 
a torrid heat, blinding dust and a weighty equip- 
ment. 

Incidentally, it now became obvious that the 
Greeks had succeeded in rendering the desired 
service to their allies, for immediately they com- 
menced their march on Strumnitza, General Kovat- 
cheff, realising the difficult nature of his position, 
was obliged (7th July) to commence his retreat from 
Istib via Radovishte and Strumnitza to Petritch. 

The Bulgarians in retreat from Doiran threw 
up earthworks at Rabrovo, where they doubtless 



818 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

intended to check the Greek advance, and soHdly 
entrenched themselves farther north on the Hne 
Zlesovo-Kosturino — 850, where the terrain offers 
many natural advantages to a defending army. The 
III Division, as we have already noted, advanced 
along the main road with the massed artillery in its 
wake, and had on its right the V Division, marching 
via Tartarli, Kajali and Ormanli, en route for 
Strumnitza; the II was ordered to cross the range 
by summit 1063, and the IV by summit 1494, 
towards the Strumnitza Valley. 

On 7th July the III and V Divisions operated 
against the Bulgarian advanced positions at Rabrovo 
and Ormanli respectively. They were not yet in 
touch with the main forces of the enemy, but the 
fact that they were unable to place more than three 
batteries of artillery in position against Rabrovo, 
coupled with the stiff inclines which had to be 
negotiated, and the stifling midsummer heat, rendered 
the forward movement somewhat difficult. Yet by 
nightfall they had arrived at a distance of a few 
hundred metres from the Bulgarian trenches, and 
several bayonet charges took place, as a result of 
which the III Division arrived at the summit 350 
on the main road, while the V Division bivouacked 
at Kajali. 

Simultaneously, the II Division had arrived at 
summit 1063, and the IV at Gorbac-basi. In view 
of the important positions held by the Bulgarians at 
Zlesovo — 850, the II Division received orders to 
deploy to the left with the object of rendering assist- 
ance to the V Division, and advantage was taken of 
the obscurity of the night to move up the artillery 



STRUMNITZA AND DEMIR HISSAR 319 

into position. The next day (8th July) the Greek 
infantry, now assisted by the guns, attacked the 
Bulgarian trenches ; but only to find that the enemy 
had already begun their retreat towards Strumnitza. 
Little remained then for the Hellenes but to follow 
up their victory, and, after capturing nine cannon 
and a quantity of provisions, they entered the town 
on gth July. 

On 8th July, the IV Division had been ordered 
to hold its position at Gorbac-basi, but during the 
day, a cavalry patrol, having made a reconnaissance 
towards Gabrovo, reported that the enemy was 
developing a retreating movement in the valley 
below. Upon receipt of this information, the 
Divisional Commander advanced a column of 
infantry with a battery of mountain artillery, and, 
having engaged the convoy, succeeded in capturing 
24 guns and 400 transport wagons — practically the 
whole of the artillery and transport of a division. 
This attack had the further effect of obliging the 
Bulgarian infantry to retire over the mountains 
towards Berovo. The same evening (8th July) the 
II Division descended to Banjsco and joined the 
IV in the pursuit of the enemy, while the V entered 
the valley, east of Strumnitza, at Kuklis. The X 
Division at this time was at Poptzevo, and althouc^h 
the infantry of the III Division entered Strumnitza 
on 9th July, great difficulty was encountered in 
advancing the artillery, for the Bulgarians had 
destroyed a small bridge near Poptzevo and the guns 
were thus delayed for two days until the necessary 
repairs were effected by the engineers. 

The attempt to trap the enemy in the Strumnitza 



820 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Valley had, then, been only partially successful. 
Thirty-three guns and four hundred transport 
wagons was indeed a substantial haul, but the 
principal mass escaped, and great must have been 
the chagrin of the Greek outposts as they saw the 
long columns of Bulgarians — soldiers, peasants and 
transport — making their way eastward. The des- 
truction of the Poptzevo Bridge served the fugitives 
in good stead, for without the assistance of their 
field guns the Hellenes were unable to make any 
effective attack on their enemy, who, it may be added, 
covered their retreat in an admirable manner. 

The situation now called for a new distribution of 
the Greek left wing. The Servians were at Tzarevo 
Selo, and the general plan suggested an advance by 
the tw^o armies on Dubnitza and Kuestendil in two 
columns. King Constantine therefore decided to 
detach his HI and X Divisions and to send them 
over the mountains from Strumnitza, via Hamzali 
and Berovo, to Pechevo, their mission being to serve 
as a liaison between the Servian and Greek armies. 
The rest of the divisions of the left (II, IV, V) were 
ordered to proceed along the valley of the Strumnitza 
and march on Petritch, which town they ultimately 
occupied. Between Doiran and Petritch the Greeks 
captured 2)1 cannon, 50 officers and 2500 men. 

While the left wing of the Hellenic army had been 
driving the enemy from Doiran and Strumnitza, the 
centre (I and VI) continued its pursuit of the Bul- 
garians who had retreated from Kilkich and Lahana 
north and north-east to the Struma Valley. The 
fugitives did not attempt to hold Dovatepe, but 
retired to their fortified position at the entrance to 




KING CONSTANTINE AT HADJI BEJLIK. 

King Constantine is no mere titular Comniander-in-Cliief. He is the actual, living 
head of the tireek anny. During the two Balkan wars he displayed great 
military genius, and it was due to his ti-emendous pei-sonal enei-gy tliat liis troops 
swept fonvard witli never slackening speed, and gave the enemy no opportunity 
1(1 n'-r(i]-iii their sliattered forces. 



STRUMNITZA AND DEMIR HISSAR 321 

Derbend Pass. The possession of this pass was 
a matter of first importance to the enemy, for not 
only did it command the entrance to the roadway 
running north to Bulgaria through the famous 
Kresna Pass, but it also covered the town of Dem.ir 
Hissar, 

On the plateau which crowns a high precipitous 
rock, rising sheer up from the roadway on the eastern 
shore of the Struma River, the Bulgarians had placed 
their artillery, including four siege guns, in position. 
Before them ran the river, some four hundred feet 
wide, spanned only by the railway bridge ; to right 
and left of the river-bed lay the plain of Serres, 
offering neither protection nor points of vantage to 
an advancing army. The western side of the stream 
is again flanked by mountains — the termination of 
the Belesh Planina — but there are here no roads, and 
the employment of field artillery is accordingly im- 
practicable. On this occasion the Bulgarians were 
probably at least numerically equal to the Greeks ; 
they possessed a great advantage in cannon, for not 
only were the Hellenes unable to bring their field 
artillery into action, but they were outranged by the 
siege guns; they had, further, thrown up extensive 
earthworks on all the commanding heights, and, in 
short, held a well-nigh impregnable position. The 
odds, therefore, were all in favour of the Bulgarians. 

The two Greek divisions (I and VI) advanced 
eastward along the railway line, to the north and 
south respectively. On approaching the pass the 
VI deployed to the south, and crossing the river at 
Obaja, engaged the enemy's principal position. The 
real object of this strategy was to facilitate the 

X 



322 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

advance of the I Division along the north of the 
railway line, and on 9th July it arrived at Hadji 
Bejlik, from whence the troops were able to drive 
the Bulgarian advance guard out of the village of 
Kesislik. Further progress was found to be impos- 
sible, for the Greek guns were outranged and the 
troops were unable to reply to the sustained fire of 
their adversary. During the night, however, the 
Hellenes moved up their cannon into effective range, 
and at daybreak the battle recommenced. As the 
result of an artillery duel of two hours' duration 
and a decisive attack by the infantry, the enemy 
was dislodged from the village of Vetrina, following 
which a regiment of Evzones, with a mountain 
battery, worked round a small valley and came out 
upon a height well north of the Bulgarian position 
at the entrance to the pass, where they unmasked 
their guns and opened a spirited artillery and rifle 
fire. Thereupon the Bulgarians, finding their rear 
once again threatened, commenced to retreat north- 
ward, leaving behind them the four siege guns, four 
canon-a-tir-rapide and a large quantity of ammuni- 
tion. This victory also rendered the Greeks masters 
of Demir Hissar, where, in addition to the massacred 
bodies of 140 of their fellow-countrymen, they found 
enormous stores ^ and 1 50 Bulgarian state railway 
wagons. 

' The inventory of the stores abandoned by the Bulgarians at 
Demir Hissar was as follows: Rye, looo tons; rice, 411 tons; 
salt, 131 tons; flour, 206 tons; bran, 192 tons; barley, 25 tons; 
wheat, 12^ tons; maize, 160 tons; pepper, i^ tons; beans, 3J 
tons; sugar, 125 cases; tea, 200 cases; cheese, 30 cases; with 40 
sacks of horseshoes, 1200 pairs of boots and ^o ambulance 
wngons 



STRUMNITZA AND DEMIR HISSAR 328 

Prior to their departure from Derbend, the Bulgars 
dynamited a span of the raihvay bridge which crosses 
the Struma, and thus effectively delayed the Greek 
advance. This was, strangely enough, the first 
occasion upon which any destruction of the com- 
munications had been attempted, and it is somewhat 
surprising that the Bulgarians for so long neglected 
so primitive a method of retarding their enemy. 

After the capture of Demir Hissar, King Con- 
stantine ordered the VI Division to continue the 
pursuit along the carriage road on the eastern bank 
of the Struma, and the I Division to advance as 
rapidly as possible over the mountains in the same 
direction. At the same time he moved his head- 
quarters up to Hadji Bejlik. 

On 13th July, Mr Venezelos arrived at head- 
quarters on a visit to his sovereign. Russia, seeing 
the catastrophe towards which Bulgaria was inevi- 
tably drifting, had proposed that the allies should 
sign an armistice and enter into conference at 
St Petersburg. Neither King nor Premier, how- 
ever, found the Russian proposition acceptable. 
They were willing enough to negotiate with 
Bulgaria, but felt themselves unable to enter into 
interminable discussions. Mr Venezelos was deter- 
mined to insist upon the creation of three approxi- 
mately equal states, and thus assure a balance of 
power ; and, already wearied of the never-ending 
bickering at the London Conference, his motto was 
now : " Peace on the battle-field." 

When I descended from the train at Hadji Bejlik 
there was much commotion and several white patches 
on the platform. One answer explained both 



324 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

phenomena. The Bulgarians had left us a legacy, 
and the surroundings of the station were polluted 
with cholera. The white patches marked the spots 
where men had fallen stricken by the fell disease. 
Very stringent measures were immediately taken to 
prevent a spread of the plague, with most satisfac- 
tory results. This is, perhaps, a suitable occasion 
upon which to testify to the efficacy of the anti- 
cholera serum with which most of the troops were 
promptly vaccinated. There was a markedly small 
percentage of deaths among the men who had been 
so treated, despite the fact that the whole of the 
ground over which the Bulgarians had passed was 
found to be infected. During the entire campaign 
the Greeks only lost a total of 540 men from all 
descriptions of sickness, whereas the Serbs found 
their ranks decimated by cholera. Moreover, the 
only staff officer who died of the disease was one 
who had refused to be vaccinated. He, a gallant 
soldier, passed away at Hadji Bejlik after only 
seven hours of acute suffering. 

Here, as at Doiran, King Constantine was accom- 
panied by all the male members of the Royal family 
save his brother, Prince George. On the whole, 
comparatively little hardship was suffered until head- 
quarters left the railway line, and I bear willing and 
thankful testimony to the excellence of the Royal 
kitchen. The conditions of life at Hadji Bejlik 
were very similar to those which I have already 
described at Doiran, but an added interest was 
furnished by the visit of Mr Venezelos. It was here 
that we received news of the horrors perpetrated by 
the Bulgarians at Demir Hissar and Serres ; here 



STRUMNITZA AND DEMIR HISSAR 325 

also that the Moslem Hodja of the village came in 
and reported that the " Duchman " (enemy), as he 
called them, had massacred 200 of the inhabitants 
ere they departed. Anxious to test the truth of this 
statement, I set off across the fields, and, encounter- 
ing many peasants, received confirmation from one 
and all. 

It was not until 17th July that the bridge over the 
Struma River was repaired and the Greeks were thus 
able to continue their general advance northward. 
In due course the divisions arrived at the following 
positions : 



On the extreme left in close contact with the Servians. 



III. I 

VI. Menelik. 

I. Livournovo. 

II. Startzovo. 

IV. Giurgievo. 

V Mare Kostinovo. 

VII. Nevrekop. 

The last to arrive on this new concentration, 
which stretched almost in a straight line across the 
country over which the Bulgarians were being swept 
northward, was Colonel Sautilis, with the VII 
Division. 

After having captured Nigrita, this division 
hastened north to the bridge over the Struma at 
Orliak, with the two-fold object of following up the 
units of the Bulgarian XI Division which it had 
defeated, and cutting off that means of retreat for 
the enemy flying from Lahana. On their arrival, 
however, they found that the Bulgars, having effected 
their own crossing to the Serres side of the river, 



326 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

had destroyed the bridge. In operating their retreat 
they left a strong rearguard in position on the left 
bank ; but under cover of their own guns, the Greeks 
collected all the boats available in the vicinity, and, 
having succeeded in landing troops on the other 
side, delivered a spirited attack on the hostile 
batteries the while their engineers repaired the 
damaged bridge. 

Thus by the evening of 4th July the Hellenes 
w^ere in possession of both shores of the river, and 
the Bulgarians continued their retirement towards 
Serres. The VII Division was now charged with 
the duty of following up the retreat, and, at the same 
time, warding off a possible attack on the flank of 
the I and VI Divisions advancing towards Demir 
Hissar. While Sautilis was bringing up the balance 
of his artillery from Tsaigesi, and making prepara- 
tions for a renewal of his forward march, the Bul- 
garians, finding the position of the troops composing 
their XI Division precarious in view of the rapidity 
of the general Greek advance, decided to withdraw 
in the direction of Nevrekop.^ On 5th July their 
main army abandoned Serres and retired on Porna. 
Six days later an irregular force, armed with cannon 
and led by regular officers, reappeared and reduced 

'■ The appearance of the Greek fleet under Admiral Condour- 
iotis, accompanied by five empty transports, off the town of 
Kavala, coupled with the bombardment of the Bulgarian garri- 
son at Leftera, caused the enemy to hasten their evacuation 
which, there is reason to believe, had already been decided upon. 
Kavala was taken during the night of gth-ioth July. In their 
retreat, the Bulgarian garrison exacted their now customary 
revenge on the population of Doxato. Aided by the local Turks, 
they slaughtered men, women and children with an utter dis- 
regard for either age or sex, and completed their dastardly 
enterprise by destroying the town. 



STRUMNITZA AND DEMIR HISSAR 827 

three-quarters of this most flourishing of Macedonian 
townships to cinders, adding pillage, extortion and 
massacre to their other abominations. The sacking 
of Serres casts a lurid light upon the Bulgarian 
character, and, if it has a parallel in modern times, 
the same is exclusively provided by the destruction of 
Kniazhevats by their army operating against the 
Servians. 

Sautilis entered Serres on nth July. In the 
meantime the Bulgars began to concentrate around 
Zernova, a position which controlled the advance 
on Nevrekop, and against which the Greeks were 
ordered to march in two columns. Two regiments 
and one group of artillery were directed via Brodi, 
and one regiment with the remaining artillery was 
charged with the capture of Drama, from whence 
they were to proceed against Zernova. The first 
column encountered considerable opposition on its 
march, and there was a running fight for three days 
(15th, 1 6th and 17th July) at Brodi and Starchista 
before, upon the arrival of the second column 
from Drama, the Bulgars were attacked in force, 
dislodged from their positions, and driven towards 
Nevrekop. During these combats the Hellenes 
captured eighteen cannon, and pressing home their 
advance, succeeded in taking Nevrekop as the 
result of an unimportant encounter on i8th July. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

MOUNTAIN WARFARE 

The Greek army now entered the most difficult 
phase of the war. The men, it is true, were pos- 
sessed of that confidence which is born of victory, 
and the Bulgarians were already a beaten enemy, 
but the very nature of the country over which they 
were to pass, abounding as it does in points of 
vantage where a few irregulars have often held 
vastly superior and trained forces at bay, must have 
given the stoutest heart cause for serious thought. 
Before the Greeks lay tier upon tier of alpine moun- 
tains, often towering up to summits over 5000 feet 
in height. The ways were but stony, winding, and 
precipitous mule tracks, save the solitary road along 
the Struma Valley, and that again was commanded 
by the famous Kresna Pass. Moreover, the country 
is ethnologically Bulgar; the enemy was constantly 
nearing home and reinforcements, and there was a 
constant danger of flank attack from the IV Army, 
which had retired over the Plaskavitsa Planina, 

In his movements, after the capture of Derbend, 
King Constantine determined to make use of the 
three natural lines of advance towards the Bulgarian 
frontier, viz., the valleys of the Bregalnitza, Struma, 
and Mesta Rivers. The main advance was neces- 

328 



MOUNTAIN WARFARE 329 

sarily fixed along the Struma road — the only road 
suitable for the transport of wheeled artillery — while 
the divisions in the Bregalnitza and Mesta Valleys 
were to act as flanking columns. We have here, 
therefore, an example of advance in three columns 
in which each section could, and at times did, carry 
assistance to its neighbours. Military students who 
are concerned as ,to whether, in an advance by 
parallel columns, each should rely for its own pro- 
tection upon its own advance guard, or whether the 
provision of a general advance guard under a single 
commander is preferable, will accordingly find 
interesting subject for study. In the operations 
under discussion, the former system was adopted, 
but it remains to be ascertained to what extent this 
was due to the free choice of the Commander-in- 
Chief, or how far it was enjoined by the excessively 
mountainous nature of the country. 

The Greek general advance coincided with the 
capture of Nevrekop (i8th July). In the centre the 
I Division took the road ; the other divisions, II, IV, 
and VI, crossed the mountain tracks, the IV and II 
to the left, and the VI to the right. These three 
divisions were accompanied only by their mountain 
batteries ; half their field artillery followed in the 
wake of the I Division, and the rest remained behind 
with the V Division, which was held in reserve. 
Their object was the capture of the impregnable 
Kresna Pass. 

Despite the defeats which they had suffered, the 
Bulgarians, aided by the mountainous nature of the 
country, were now able to resist the Greek advance, 
and fought an almost uninterrupted series of rear- 



830 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

guard actions. Though the single road which winds 
along the left bank of the Struma had been destroyed 
in many places by the retreating enemy, the I 
Division made satisfactory progress northward. To 
the left of the river the IV Division, marching over 
the mountains, encountered three Bulgarian regi- 
ments strongly entrenched on Rosalin. During the 
night of 19th July they delivered an unsuccessful 
attack on the Greeks, who, the next morning, 
vigorously assaulted the hostile positions and, after 
a day-long battle, carried the heights at the point 
of the bayonet, and secured possession of the 
mountain. The Bulgars then retired to the high 
ground around Halilcesme-Dolencesme. 

Simultaneously (20th July) the Greek left (III 
and X Divisions) advanced against the positions 
held by three brigades under General Teneff, who 
had previously been driven back on to his entrenched 
position on heights 1450 — Bukovik. 

It is important to note that here, upon their own 
showing, the Bulgarians possessed superiority in 
numbers as well as position ; for Teneff with 24 
battalions was opposed to 18 battahons of Greeks. 

On 1 8th July the Bulgarians had had a more or 
less successful encounter with the Servians between 
Tsarevo Selo and Kotchana, and Teneff now re- 
quested the Commander of the IV Army to send 
his nearest brigade to make a flank attack on the 
Greeks holding the line Ratovo-Vladimirovo. He 
thus brought his forces up to 32 battahons. The 
battle began at 4.25 a.m., and continued until night- 
fall with ever-increasing intensity. The greatest 
obstinacy was displayed on both sides, and the 




IN THE KRESNA PASS. 
Greek SajJiiens make a road for the jiassage of Artillery. 




IN THE KRESNA PASS. 
A Pontoon Bi Iclge built by Greek Engineere. 



MOUNTAIN WARFARE 831 

losses were unusually heavy, but, having developed 
an attack on the plateau south of Kaditza, the 
Hellenes occupied that position, from whence they 
stormed and carried the hill (1750) itself, after dis- 
lodging their enemy from five successive hnes of 
trenches at the bayonet's point. Following this 
victorious and creditable exploit, they rapidly gained 
ground to the east along the valley of the Bregal- 
nitza, and ultimately stormed and took the summit 
of Bejaztepe (1235), which they held against re- 
peated counter attacks. The whole movement, it 
cannot be other than admitted, reflects the greatest 
credit upon the Greeks. It was a triumph of which 
any army might be proud. 

On the right, the VII Division, advancing from 
Nevrekop, encountered the enemy at Kremen, 
where a stubborn battle was fought, resulting in the 
now familiar retreat of the Bulgarians. 

After the capture of Rosalin the Greek IV Divi- 
sion advanced to Dolencesme ; the II moved up to 
Bresnitza, and the I to Jenikoi. The Bulgarians, 
having destroyed the bridge over the Struma near 
Jenikoi, again withdrew, and their centre was, by 
2ist July, in positions of defence on a line stretch- 
ing across the entrance to the Kresna Pass. 

The Greek staff now determined to outflank 
Kresna, and the II Division was therefore ordered 
to advance over the mountain to the east of the 
defile towards Susitsa. It was this turning move- 
ment which determined General Sarafoff, command- 
ing the Bulgarian centre, to abandon the entrance 
to the pass, and to organise the defence of the great 
line of formidable mountain ridges — Rugen (summit 



832 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

850), Orehovo, Uranovo, Ognar Mah — thus effec- 
tively covering the exit from Kresna, and protecting 
the advance on Djumia. 

On the Greek left the X Division followed the 
mountain ridges, while the III Division followed 
the Bregalnitza Valley, both working in the direction 
of Tsarevo Selo. General Teneff's forces fell back 
and entrenched the line Isternik-Hassan Pacha- 
Rugen, thus giving the Bulgarians fortified posses- 
sion of a long line of mountain summits stretching 
from Isternik to Ognar Mah. The whereabouts of 
the brigade which had been detached from the IV 
Division to proceed to the assistance of General 
Teneff against Berovo are somewhat uncertain, but 
since we know that Teneff himself had been placed 
under the orders of the Commander of the Bulgarian 
IV Army, it may be assumed that it continued to 
operate against the Greek left. 

In the Mesta Valley, General Deloff continued 
to retire before the VII Division of Sautilis, and 
was eventually ordered to base himself on the head 
of the valley, and to leave a strong covering detach- 
ment in the Pass of Predel Han. 

The Greeks now disposed their forces for a con- 
certed attack on the Bulgarian front. The enemy 
had destroyed the roads, and had placed their 
batteries in position to bear on the descents into 
the plain from the mountains. Siege guns com- 
manded the northern extremity of Kresna, through 
which must necessarily pass the Greek field artillery, 
and at all points the enemy possessed a superiority 
in cannon, which had been mounted on the 
heights. The climatic conditions were of the most 



MOUNTAIN WARFARE 388 

trying description, for the Greeks, clothed only in 
summer khaki, had steadily mounted from the 
scorching plains of Macedonia on to the high 
mountain ranges, where they suffered intensely from 
cold. 

The Hellenes deployed as follows: The IV 
Division attacked Rugen ; the II was sent against 
summit 850 metres ; the I followed the main road 
to Simitli and Uranovo ; the VI had as its destina- 
tion the left wing of the Bulgarian centre at Gradevo 
and Ognar Mah. 

In addition to the battery of siege guns to which 
we have already referred, the Bulgarians had eleven 
batteries of field guns mounted in the vicinity of 
Simitli. On 24th July the I Division began to 
filter out of the pass into the fire zone. The opera- 
tion was slow and costly, for the Greek cannon 
dared not leave the shelter of Kresna, and the 
infantry made their exit in small groups in order to 
escape the attention of the Bulgarian guns. Little 
progress was made during the day, but under cover 
of darkness the Hellenes rushed some of the hostile 
outposts, and the next day an attack was delivered 
in force. When the Greek artillery ultimately 
came into action the movement was developed, and 
an heroic assault by a battalion of the I Division 
delivered the siege guns into the hands of King 
Constantine's soldiers. 

Simultaneously the IV Division, at the cost of 
appalHng losses, stormed and captured the height of 
Rugen, the II Division drove its opposition north 
and took Susitsa, and the persistent offensive of the 
VI Division forced General Sarafoff to retire from 



334 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

the line Uranovo-Ognar Mah. On 26th July thr 
II and IV Divisions delivered a combined attack 
on Vidren. A terrible and sanguinary combat for 
possession of this height proceeded all day, and 
it was only at 9 p.m. that the Greek efforts were 
crowned with success, and the entire position of 
Trescovo passed into their hands. The VI Division 
captured Ognar Mah, and drove the enemy back 
on summit 1378. Roughly speaking, this great 
effort cost the Greeks about 3000 casualties. 

On the right the VII Division, now greatly re- 
duced in numbers as a result of its incessant but 
victorious combats, continued its advance, seized 
the Pass of Predel Han, and established itself at 
Marova. The III and X Divisions guarded their 
old positions. 

The respective lines occupied by the rival armies 
at this stage in the operations (the night of 26th 
July) were as follows : 

Bulgarians — Cuka Golek (1551); Golek (11 20); 
Hassan Pacha (1495); Dubostiza-Mostance-Delja- 
novo (east of Djumia)-Arisvanitza range. 

Greeks — Bejaztepe (III); Pantzarovo (X) ; 
Rugen (IV); Trescovo (II); Uranovo (I); Summit 
1378 and Ognar Mah (II) ; Marova and Predel Han 

(VII). 

At this time, as a consequence of the failures of 
the Servian attacks on Banja Cuka and Pobijen 
(N.E. Kotchana) the Bulgarians were able to dis- 
patch heavy reinforcements to the assistance of their 
army opposed to the Greeks. Nine battalions and 
three batteries of field artillery of the I Army came 
up to strengthen General Sarafoff's left flank (Aris- 



MOUNTAIN WARFARE 335 

vanitza), and a part of the IX Division was descend- 
ing on the Greek right via Jakuruda. 

The subsequent temporary inactivity of the Ser- 
vian army now led the Bulgarians, for the first time 
in the history of the campaign since their initial 
attack, to take the offensive. The plan of their 
headquarters' staff was to trap the Hellenes in the 
Struma Valley. They, therefore, planned to march 
their divisions from Cuka Golek and Golek (part 
of the IV Army which had hitherto been opposed 
to the Serbs) along the Bregalnitza Valley via 
Trabotiviste and Razloviche, and to accompany the 
movement by a descent of General Teneff's brigades 
from Isternik and Pancharevo. This continued 
attack had for its object the defeat of the III and 
X Divisions, following which the Bulgars would have 
marched due east through Bukovik, Djamitepe, and 
the road to its junction w4th the Struma at Jenikoi. 
In the eastern theatre the battalions of the IV Divi- 
sion were to unite with General Deloff's division, 
recapture Mehomia and Dobrinista, and close in on 
the Greeks from that point. The plot was carefully 
laid, and, had it been successfully carried out, would 
have bottled up the Greek I, II, IV, V, VI, and VII 
Divisions in the Struma Valley. What happened 
is as follows : 

The divisions of the IV Army concentrated to- 
wards Trabotiviste and Razloviche, and part of 
General TenefT's division advanced by Isternik and 
Pancharevo, where they likewise concentrated. On 
neither hand, however, was any offensive undertaken. 

On the same day (27th July) General Deloff, 
employing the ist and 9th Regiments of the Bui- 



83G THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

garian I Division, attacked the summit 1378, and, 
having driven out the Greek advance guard, turned 
against the VI Division at Ognar Mah and Asa- 
gimah. A terrific struggle raged all day, but thanks 
to the timely arrival of the VII Division, which had 
marched from Predel Han via Osenovo, the fight 
went to the Hellenes. In the evening the strong- 
hold of 1378 was assaulted, and during the night 
fell to the VII Division. The left of the Bulgarian 
centre then retired in disorder towards Djumia, and 
on the evening of 28th July the Greeks held the 
approaches to Djumia, and on that evening they 
occupied the following line: VI and VII on height 
1378; V, Papasbasi (1079); I, Trescovo; II and 
IV advancing against the Bulgarians at Hassan 
Pacha ; on the left both sides held their positions 
without attack. 

The defeat administered on the Bulgarian centre 
had obviously been severe, for the enemy retired 
north towards Dubnitza, setting fire to a quarter of 
Djumia in their retreat. They left behind them 
simple detachments of infantry, who watched the 
plain south of Djumia. 

On the same day the III and X Divisions were 
attacked by the concentrated Bulgarian forces — 
greatly superior in number — on both their left and 
right flanks, which were then to the south of Bejaz- 
tepe (1235). One attack was delivered from the 
valley of the Bregalnitza, and the other from 
Pancharevo-Ccrvnik. The Greek position speedily 
became critical, and the General commanding the 
two divisions was obliged to withdraw towards 
Pechevo, and to occupy anew the line Bukovik — 



MOUNTAIN WARFARE 88T 

1450. The retreat was carried out in good order, 
and nothing was lost, despite the fact that the Bulgars 
were often as close as 35 yards to the guns which 
had been left to cover the retirement. At Bukovik 
— 1405 the Hellenes offered a further resistance, but 
in the face of a determined attack by the Bulgarian 
right, they were obliged to continue their retreat, 
and in the evening held the positions Bukovik 
(X) and Pechevo (III). The enemy halted at 
Umliano. 

The Greek IV Division was at Rugen, and the 
II to the west of Trescovo. They had taken no 
previous part in the encounter, but in view of the 
new development, headquarters issued the following 
orders : 

1. The (Greek) right, consisting of the I, V, VI and 

VII Divisions, is to maintain its positions, keep- 
ing watch on Bulgarian movements to the north. 

2. The II and IV Divisions are, on the morning 

of the 29th, to attack the enemy's positions at 
Leska and Hassan Pacha, in order to cut off 
the retreat of the Bulgarians who are operating 
against the III Division. 

3. The field batteries of the III and IV Divisions, 

which are posted on the main road south of the 
Kresna Pass at Jenikoi, are to cross the river 
and mount the road via Bresnitza to the heights 
of Djamitepe. Simultaneously the engineers of 
these divisions are to prepare the said road for 
the passage of the artillery. 

4. General Damianos (commanding the III and X 

Divisions) is to resist the Bulgarian attack at 

Y 



888 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

all costs, and, on the first possible opportunity, 
to counter-attack. 

These orders, which are certainly not those of 
a defeated general, were also communicated to 
Servian headquarters. 

During the night 2 8th-29th, the Bulgarians de- 
livered a night attack on the heights of Kaditza- 
Bukovik, held by the Greek X Division. They 
had evidently been assured that the turning-point 
in a hitherto disastrous campaign had at length been 
reached, for they advanced singing patriotic songs, 
and giving vent to loud hurrahs. The Hellenes, 
however, held their ground. Next morning, the 
battle was continued against the two divisions, and 
during the whole day the Bulgars repeated their 
determined effort to obtain possession of the coveted 
heights. The battle finished with a slight advan- 
tage to the left wing of the Greek HI Division as 
the result of a counter attack. 

A determined combat was meantime raging round 
Hassan Pacha. The importance of the occupation 
of paramount heights in the universally mountainous 
country over which the second half of the campaign 
was fought, will have become obvious to the layman, 
and it may be said that the possessors of Hassan 
Pacha held the key to the existing position. Neither 
side, therefore, spared any effort to emerge vic- 
torious from the struggle, and as a result of the 
fighting on the 29th, the Greeks succeeded in cap- 
turing the advance Hues on the foothills. 

Headquarters now received the somewhat discon- 
certing information that several battalions of Bui- 



MOUNTAIN WARFARE 839 

gaiians, descending from Jakuruda, had re-occupied 
Mehomia, and that the Greek garrison of one 
battaHon of infantry, with three mountain batteries, 
had been obliged to retreat to Predel Han with a loss 
of two batteries. The VII Division, which had 
remained in action to the west of height 1378, was 
then ordered to return to Mehomia, re-take the town, 
and restore communications with Nevrekop. The 
troops made a night march south, and on the 
morning of 30th July attacked the enemy vigorously, 
repulsed them, re-took the guns, and restored the 
status quo ante. 

To return now to the Greek left. On the morn- 
ing of 30th July the II and IV Divisions continued 
their attack on Hassan Pacha. The fight raged 
without interruption, for it was considered absolutely 
essential that all the hostile positions on Hassan 
Pacha and Leska should be captured. The Greek 
attack was rendered increasingly difficult owing to 
the presence of Bulgarian batteries in position north 
of Leska, who shelled the troops vigorously, and 
subjected them to a cross fire. This development 
forced the Greek Commander to detach a column 
from his left flank and deliver a counter attack. 
The Hellenes now succeeded in driving their enemy 
from line after line of trenches until, at 9 p.m., they 
arrived at a distance of only fifty yards from the last 
Bulgarian positions. 

The same day, the III and X Divisions, after 
having repulsed the Bulgarian attacks of the morn- 
ing, counter-attacked the enemy with such effect 
that by evening they had forced them back beyond 
the line Bukovik — 1450. The six Greek batteries 



340 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

had by this time arrived on the heights of Djamitepe, 
ready for the attack of the morrow. 

The orders issued by King Constantine for the 
operations of 31st July were for the III and X 
Divisions to push their attack towards the north, 
and for the II and IV to complete the capture of 
the heights Hassan Pacha-Leska and to proceed 
thence to attack the rear of the Bulgarian troops 
opposing the III and X Divisions. The VII Divi- 
sion was ordered to attack and take Mehomia at 
all costs. Complete tranquillity prevailed over the 
centre. 

These orders were issued at midnight, and no 
sooner had they been communicated to the divisions 
than the telegraph began to tick out the news of 
the signature of the armistice at Bukarest. 

It would appear, therefore, that it was in reality 
the Bulgars who were saved from a decisive defeat. 
Their attempt to reach Jenikoi had failed, the cap- 
ture of Hassan Pacha and Leska was imminent, 
and their five or more brigades in the south would 
thereupon have been surrounded by the Servians 
on the west, two Greek divisions plus six batteries 
on the south and five divisions on the north. So 
had the tables been turned, and with this position, 
and the consequent failure of their strategy before 
them, it is difficult to see how the Bulgarians can 
claim to have been robbed of the fruits of their 
victories by the signature of the armistice. That 
the Greek troops were tired after their thirty days' 
continuous marching and fighting against a stubborn 
and courageous foe is necessarily obvious, and it 
demands the exercise of little imagination to assume 




p SO 







MOUNTAIN WARFARE 341 

that the armistice was agreeable to them. But they 
were not a beaten, but a victorious army, and I 
am officially authorised to contradict an oft-repeated 
falsehood which asserts that King Constantine tele- 
graphed to the King of Roumania beseeching him 
to impose an armistice as quickly as possible in order 
to ward off a catastrophy to the Greek army. 

The entrance of Roumania into the ring was a dis- 
concerting development for the Bulgarians, and to 
that extent do they deserve our sympathy ; but to 
suggest that it contributed to the defeat of the Bul- 
garian army by the Greeks and Servians is to impose 
too greatly upon our credulity. The Roumanians 
crossed the Danube on loth July. Their march, in 
accordance with a previous decision of the Bulgarian 
Government, was absolutely unopposed, and it did 
not prevent the Bulgars from planning the great 
coup which, twenty days later, was expected to 
deliver King Constantine and his army into their 
hands. 

Throughout the campaign the strategy employed 
by the Greek staff was of a high military order. It 
was realised that the most inexpensive method of 
driving an enemy from a strong position is to com- 
bine a determined attack on the front with a flank 
attack on the rear, and thus threaten the lines of 
communication. The Bulgarians always held defen- 
sive positions of so great a value that their possession 
was equal to many battalions, but the frontal assaults 
were distinguished by such tenacity and bravery 
(and herein lies the secret of the appalling losses), 
and the turning movements were executed with such 
admirable precision, that the ^tactics were almost 



342 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

universally successful. During their victorious ad- 
vance the Greeks captured : 



Prisoners of war (including 71 officers) . 


5,330 


Cannon ....... 


84 


Ammunition wagons .... 


215 


Maxims ....... 


9 


Magazine rifles (older models uncounted) 


7,900 


Transport carts ; a number exceeding . 


500 


Shells 


7,910 


Smokeless charges 


589 


Cartridges ...... 


. 1,200,000 



At the outset of the war, a greater measure of 
co-operation between the allied armies was looked 
for. Indeed, it was fortunate for the Bulgarians 
that the Servians were unable to press more vigor- 
ously upon the heels of their retreat from Istib while 
the Greeks were forcing the passage of the Belesh 
Planina and the Derbend Pass. Had this been 
done, the Bulgarian II and IV Armies might have 
been taken on the flank and in the rear in the narrow 
Strumnitza Valley, to their almost certain destruction. 

The " War of the Allies " will ever be distinguished 
by the great part played by the bayonet in the various 
combats. It is well known that, throughout both 
wars, the Bulgarians freely manifested their national 
love of cold steel both in attack and defence. In 
this, contrary to preconceived impression — for the 
Hellene was not usually regarded as a bayonet- 
fighter — they met their masters in the Greeks. The 
explanation of this phenomenon must be found in 
the wonderful elan of the Greek infantry, to which 
attention has already been drawn, and in the fact 
that the Hellenes were roused to the highest pitch 
of patriotic endeavour by the treachery of the Bui- 



MOUNTAIN WARFARE 843 

garian attack and the atrocities committed en route 
by the defeated army. It is, however, probable 
that King Constantine would have found his advance 
somewhat delayed had his enemy made more effica- 
cious use of the fire effect of modern weapons when 
defending fortified positions. 

The author's account of the second campaign will 
be found almost ungarnished with pen pictures of 
actual fighting. The reason is not difficult to find. 
The first business of the correspondent is to get 
home news of the progress of the armies, and modern 
warfare is fought over such an extended front that 
the only safe place for the journalist is at head- 
quarters (if he can get there), which, nowadays, 
keeps well in the rear. Opportunity is some- 
times presented for a journey to the front, but 
the visit is of necessarily short duration. To 
have followed General Damianos on the Greek 
left would have permitted the production of much 
picturesque detail, but the public would thereby 
have been left in entire ignorance of the doings 
of the centre and right. As has been so often 
repeated of late, the war correspondent of olden 
days, with his glowing accounts of deeds of prowess 
on the battle-field, is a thing of the past, and it is 
only when the journalist can get in " at the death," 
as was my fortune with the Turks, that he is able to 
obtain a first-hand story from the firing line. 

Yet the correspondent sees enough of the shady 
side of warfare to pray for its abolition. It has been 
mine to laud the grand elan of the Hellene, to 
admire the wonderful bravery of the soldiers who 
rushed on regardless of self to almost certain death, 



644 



THE BALKAN COCKPIT 



to exalt their fortitude in suffering, and to vaunt 
the sanctity of their sacrifice; and yet, at its best 
(and in the " War of the AUies " we saw it at its best), 
war is a hideous, abominable thing. To listen to 
the never-ending, moaning thunder of the cannon, 
and to realise that away over the mountains humanity 
is butchering and being butchered, that life is ebbing 
out, that women are being widowed, that children 
are being orphaned, that sweethearts are being 
sorrowed — all this is the superlative of sadness. 
And then to watch that long procession of suffering 
as it wends its way from the battle-field. First, the 
lightly wounded, on whom fortune has surely shone 
and who walk with heads in bandage or arms in 
sling ; then those with shattered limbs which must 
be severed ere the journey ends ; then stretcher- 
loads of ruined bodies which will ever suffer from 
leaden ball in chest or stomach ; then carts piled 
with dead warriors who will return no more to the 
fields or shops or offices which they left at their 
country's call. These are sights to sicken the 
stoutest heart ; these are paeans of universal peace. 
See what a price Hellas paid for her glory: 



Officers killed in action 
Officers wounded in action 
Soldiers killed in action . 
Soldiers wounded in action 
Officers dead from disease 
Soldiers dead from disease 

A total penalty of . 

souls hoTs de combat in thirty days. 



140 
429 

1,857 

18,888 

26 

540 



21,880 



CHAPTER XXIX 

BULGARIAN ATROCITIES 

The title of this chapter will conjure up memories 
of bygone days in many minds. It was, in fact, 
nearly forty years ago that Gladstone made all 
Europe ring with his denunciation of the massacres 
at Batak. The great statesman coined the phrase 
" Bulgarian Atrocities " to symbolise the massacre 
of Bulgars by Turks. In such sense did it continue 
in use until 19 12-19 13, when the words were invested 
with another meaning, and " Bulgarian Atrocities " 
now stands for the butchery of Turks and Greeks 
by Bulgars. After the Turkish massacres of 1876, 
Turkey lost Bulgaria; after the Bulgarian atrocities 
of 1912-1913 Bulgaria lost a huge tract of rich 
territory which for eight months she had counted and 
administered as her own. 

This is a part of my narrative which I would fain 
have left untouched, but with which it is incumbent 
upon me to deal, because silence on my part might 
be taken as a tacit acceptance of the lies which have 
been so freely circulated with the two-fold object of 
covering up Bulgaria's guilt and rendering Greece 
responsible for disgraceful crimes of which she is 
innocent. I have seen some of the horrors of which 
it will be my painful duty to write. I have personally 

345 



34(> THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

investigated the truth of others, and I am certainly 
better fitted to discourse upon them than gentlemen 
who were never within hundreds of miles of the 
incidents of which they profess so intimate and 
incontrovertible an acquaintance. 

No part of my information has been culled from 
refugees. I have had, during my sojourn in Mace- 
donia, an extensive acquaintance with this class of 
tale-bearer — Greek, Bulgarian and Turkish — and 
my experience leads me to place little reliance upon 
their stories. The average refugee assumes that 
the measure of relief he is likely to obtain will be 
in proportion to the pathos of his narrative, and, to 
these imaginative beings, it is ridiculously easy to 
sandwich in details of a heartrending nature. The 
reports which I intend to submit are bare, prosaic 
facts, unillumined by the impressions which are yet 
vivid in my mind. They are based either upon 
personal investigation or upon the testimony of 
European friends who enjoy my unrestricted con- 
fidence. 

With the Bulgarian massacre of Turks during the 
first war I have already dealt — inadequately enough 
it is true — in a preceding chapter. The second war 
was but a few hours old before they began to exact 
a bloody revenge for their defeats upon the unhappy 
Greek populations in the territories from which 
they were driven. The quarrel between Greek and 
Bulgar is of old standing. It raged from the 
invasion of Europe by the Bulgarians (for this race 
is of Mongol-Tartar origin) until the coming of the 
Osmanli. Then the race feud comparatively slum- 
bered for centuries, to be revived with the establish- 



BULGARIAN ATROCITIES 347 

ment of the Exarchate. It broke out in all its 
intensity with the introduction of the Austro-Russian 
reforms into Macedonia. Then began the attempt to 
Bulgarise the province by coercion and murder, and 
Macedonia was overrun by Bulgarian " komitadji," 
following which Greek bands were formed who sought 
to counteract the new propaganda along similar lines. 
On the voivode Sfetkoff, who was killed in 1905, 
was found a document which ordered that " any 
Christian who refuses assistance must be killed in 
such a manner that the blame may be thrown upon 
the forest guard, Imam or Dere Bey, and two 
witnesses must be forthcoming who will persuade 
the Court that the murder has been committed 
by some such tyrant." Schopoff (Secretary to the 
Exarchate) wrote in 1885: "The one enemy of 
Bulgarism is the Greek," and, at a later date, Sarafoff 
added that " the destruction of Hellenism must 
become an article of faith for the Bulgarians." In 
1906 the already lurid pages of Balkan history were 
reddened by accounts of the pogroms of Varna, 
Pyrgos and Anchialos, where unthinkable crimes 
were committed against the Greeks. When, then, 
these two nations at length got to grips, this long- 
nourished hatred found expression in the massacres 
of Nigrita, Serres, Doxato and Demir Hissar, to 
speak not of the hundred and one smaller settle- 
ments which were devastated during the Bulgarian 
retirement. 

Nigrita. — Nigrita, under the Ottoman regime 
was a notable outpost of Hellenism. Its popula- 
tion was exclusively Turkish and Greek, and it is 
of interest to note that the old traditions of the 



3m THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Olympic games there survived through the centuries. 
It will also be remembered that it was the scene 
of a sanguinary conflict between Greeks and Bulgars 
in the spring of 191 3. When Colonel vSautilis 
entered Nigrita after a successful encounter with 
his enemy, he found the hitherto prosperous town- 
ship transformed into a smoking charnel-house. Of 
1450 houses but 49 remained standing. On all 
hands there were butchered and charred bodies of 
its massacred inhabitants. At a minimum estimate 
over 400 people had perished by fire or bayonet, 
and the town had been utterly destroyed by the 
Bulgarians prior to their retreat. 

Serres. — Serres is the centre of the tobacco 
culture and was the richest town in Eastern Mace- 
donia. Prior to the Bulgarian occupation its popu- 
lation consisted of 16,000 Greeks, 12,000 Mussul- 
mans and 1300 Jews. Following its unopposed 
capture by a handful of irregulars, it became the 
centre of the Bulgarian Macedonian administration 
and the seat of General Vulkoff. 

One hot July evening prior to my return to head- 
quarters at Hadji Beylik, I met two dishevelled, 
travel-stained individuals whom I subsequently 
recognised as American residents of Serres. From 
thence they had fled afoot to Salonika, and they 
told me the story of their terrifying experience in 
that unhappy town. To this I have added details 
of which their precipitated flight had left them 
ignorant. 

It was on 5th July that the Bulgarian troops, 
by order of the General Staff, evacuated Serres. 
Sundry bands of soldiers who attempted to enter 





THE TOWN OF SERRES. 
Uestro.yed by the Bulgarians. 



BULGARIAN ATROCITIES 349 

the town were driven off by the locally improvised 
gendarmery, but during the night of the loth-iith 
a mixed force of Bulgarian infantry, cavalry and 
irregulars appeared and placed cannon in position 
on the hill of Dutli. Early the following morning 
they opened a cannonade directed against the four 
corners of the town, after which the troops arrived 
armed with bombs and crowbars wherewith to force 
an entry into houses and stores. Civil and military 
authority was fittingly represented, for, in addition 
to the officers, there were present Dr Yankoff, 
Secretary to General Vulkoff, Karagiosoff, ex-chief 
of police, and Orphanieff, chief of the gendarmery 
of Serres. 

While bloodshed and rape did 'not come amiss to 
these disciplined soldiers, loot and destruction were 
their chief objectives. Houses and stores were 
ransacked, and then every third building was soused 
with petroleum and fire applied. Of the frenzied 
population some rushed out of the town, many 
being shot down en route, while the rest fore- 
gathered in the larger houses or sought refuge in 
water cisterns, gardens and such like places. The 
number massacred was subsequently ascertained to 
have been fifty-seven. 

The Austrian Consular Agent thus reported to his 
Consul-General at Salonika: 

"A Bulgarian detachment of cavalry and 
infantry bombarded the town of Serres on Friday 
morning. After several shells had fallen at 
various points the infantry entered the town, 
massacring some of the inhabitants and setting 



350 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

fire to houses and warehouses. The town has 
been almost totally destroyed ; the victims of 
massacre and fire are numerous ; about 20,000 
persons are without shelter or clothes, and food 
is entirely lacking. On Friday, about midday, 
soldiers of the regular army attacked my house, 
driving me into the street, together with my family 
and a great number of persons who, flying from 
massacre and fire, had taken refuge with me. 
Immediately afterwards we were led on to the 
mountain. All the women and children with me 
were threatened with death, and we only secured 
our release upon the payment of a heavy ransom. 
I am safe, but my house having been burned 
down, I, together with my wife and family, am 
without shelter or clothes." 

Immediately upon receipt of this information, 
Consul-General Krai left for Serres in company 
with his Italian colleague. Commander Macchiori 
Vivalba. After a detailed investigation into the 
catastrophe, Mr Krai telegraphed the following 
official dispatch to the Austro-Hungarian Govern- 
ment: 

" I have visited Serres in company with my 
Italian colleague. This once rich, flourishing 
town is to-day three parts a mass of srnoking 
cinders. 

" The Bulgarians abandoned Serres on 5th 
July; on the nth troops and ' komitadjis ' 
appeared, conducted by officers and functionaries. 
They bombarded the defenceless town with four 



BULGARIAN ATROCITIES 351 

cannon, then pillaged and burned the mo3t 
beautiful quarters from top to bottom, including 
our Consulate and many houses belonging to 
Austrian subjects. The damages are estimated 
at ^1,800,000. 

" Fifty of the citizens were massacred, included 
among them being a Hungarian subject, Albert 
Biro. Many persons perished in the flames. Five 
new tobacco warehouses belonging to Herzog 
& Co. (an Austrian Company) have been de- 
stroyed and are still burning ; the losses amount 
to ^100,000. 

" Our flag was not respected. Our Vice-Consul 
Zlatko, holding our flag in his hand, was con- 
ducted to the mountain with 150 persons, who 
took refuge at the Consulate, and was only 
released after payment of a ransom." 

When General Ivanoff's army retired from Serres 
on 5th July, they, after their custom, carried off with 
them a number of hostages. Seven of these unfor- 
tunates were subsequently discovered in a maize 
field on the bank of the Struma, north of Livour- 
novo, by Mr Georges Bourdon, the brilliant French 
journalist and author (and with him several corres- 
pondents) who gave the following vivid account of 
the episode : 

" An acrid odour assailed our nostrils — that hot, 
penetrating, persistent, ignoble odour of ferment- 
ing flesh. It led us to one body, then another — 
and what bodies ! We found seven. The second 
was three hundred metres from the first, and three 



852 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

hundred metres separated the second from four 
others ; the last was perched on a bank fifteen 
metres away. One had, without doubt, stumbled. 
Another, struck on the back, had fallen on his face, 
and his body was already half covered by mud 
carried by the rains. The third had received a 
terrible blow on the skull from a rifle ; the butt, 
broken off by the force of the blow, lay a few feet 
away. One body lay on its back with outstretched 
arms, the fingers clutching the soil ; the open 
mouth still seemed to utter a cry of terror. These 
victims were not peasants. They were well 
dressed in fine cloth or serge, with new boots and 
hats, the garb of an ordinary well-to-do citizen. 
They were certainly from Serres, for three out of 
the seven were recognised. They were Dr Papa- 
pavlos, Director of the Gymnasium ; Dr Chrysafis, 
the principal physician of Serres ; and Mr 
Stamoulis, the Manager of the Banque d'Orient." 

The American manager of the American Tobacco 
Company told me the story of the butchery of the 
Greeks who were confined in the prison, and which 
he himself learned from one of his employees who 
had been left for dead but who survived for a few 
days after the incident. The victims were repeat- 
edly beaten by their tormentors, and then, having 
been ordered to lie down on the floor, were bayoneted 
to death. The marks where the points had pierced 
the floor after passing through the bodies were 
plainly visible. 

I have endeavoured to draw a pen picture of some 
of the incidents which have illumined my life in 



BULGARIAN ATROCITIES 853 

Macedonia ; but this sinister tableau of the Bulgarian 
reign of terror beggars description. It is difficult 
to conceive that it was the work of human beings. 
The whole of the Greek quarter, together with parts 
of the Jewish and Turkish quarters adjacent to it, 
was utterly destroyed. Of twenty-three churches 
only three remained standing. If it be true that the 
order, " If it becomes evident that Serres is lost to 
Bulgaria, the town is to be destroyed," really arrived 
from headquarters, it must be admitted that the 
Bulgars obeyed their instructions with characteristic 
thoroughness. 

DoxATO. — It is a short ride from Serres to Drama, 
and from thence the carriage road to Kavala runs 
through the once flourishing township of Doxato. 
The most reliable account of the enormities there 
committed by Bulgarians in retreat from Kavala was 
furnished by two French residents, M. and Mme 
Valette, to M. Rene Puaux of the Temps. This is 
their story: 

" The Bulgars based their decision to punish 
Doxato on the fact that some of the villagers 
fired on a few stragglers retiring from Kavala 
(four cavalrymen and three infantrymen during 
the morning, and two infantrymen during the 
afternoon), without, however, hitting any of them. 
At 6 a.m. on Sunday, 13th July, they surrounded 
our farm, desiring to arrest my dragoman, my 
guard and an employee — all three Greeks. I 
hoisted the French flag, and approaching the 
Commandant, then some two hundred yards away, 
protested against these arrests. Finally my point 



354 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

of view was admitted, and two sentries were 
placed at my door. The order to attack the town 
was then given, and the infantry, together with 
four cannon, opened fire on Doxato. One hour 
and a half later the houses began to burn, and 
towards midday the fusillade ceased. At that 
moment two Bulgarian cavalrymen arrived, and, 
ordering the sentries away, addressed my farm 
hands (Moslem gipsies to the number of a hun- 
dred, who had sought refuge at my house) crying : 
' Go to Doxato ; there is excellent loot there.' 
The sentinels and cavalrymen then informed me 
that they had orders to take my Greek employees 
to Drama. I got two carriages and went with 
them. At Drama I found Mr Dobreff white with 
emotion. ' Ah ! Mr Valette,' he said, ' it is a great 
misfortune. I am going to Doxato to assist the 
victims and bury the dead. It is a terrible mis- 
fortune.' Mr Dobreff left at 3.30 with Mr 
Bachivakoff, the sous-prefet, the caimakmn of 
Doxato and the Mayor of Drama. They buried 
the bodies most in evidence and then returned to 
Drama." 

It was not difficult to glean the truth of what 
happened within Doxato itself. There were many 
maimed survivors to tell the story, including one 
youth (who, despite ten bayonet wounds, was still 
alive), and several little children in hospital with 
scalp wounds inflicted by the swords of Bulgarian 
cavalry as they chased their infant victims across the 
fields. One girl of tender years saw her father and 
mother murdered and thrown on to a heap of corpses. 



BULGARIAN ATROCITIES 355 

and then, with extraordinary intuition, flung herself 
on to the bloody mass and was left for dead. 

The while two detachments of cavalry, com- 
manded by Majors Syneonoff and Birneff, pursued 
the fugitives, the infantry robbed and then killed 
their victims. The butchery lasted until 5 p.m. 
The Europeans who were the first on the scene 
agree that the total number massacred was not less 
than 400 (most estimates put it at 600). Many of 
the bodies had already been buried, some had been 
burned, but the rest lay yet exposed, and some 
but thinly covered with a sprinkling of sand. The 
visitors saw dogs feasting off human remains ; court- 
yards reeking with blood, where batches of the 
unfortunates had been done to death ; large stones 
covered with the blood-matted hair of the victims 
whose heads they had battered in ; rooms, the floors, 
rugs, mats and cushions of which were thick with 
the life's blood of the slaughtered ; and walls showing 
the nail prints where a woman and child had been 
crucified. 

Some of the Turks, to their everlasting shame let 
it be said, aided the Bulgarians in this devilry, which 
was carried out in the presence of the Bulgarian 
officials, Athanese Pristeff (Chief of Police), Vakef 
(judge), Jean Boroff and Karakoff. The slaughter 
ended, the perpetrators completed their w^ork by 
burning down the Greek quarter of the township. 

Demir Hissar. — Demir Hissar is a picturesque 
little Turkish town nestling at the foot of a rocky 
steep crowned by a ruined castle — the Demir Hissar 
(or iron fortress) of Ottoman days. They had a 
sad story to tell us, the inhabitants of this Greco- 



356 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Turkish town that basked so peacefully in the 
Levantine sun. The Bulgars had passed by there 
and had left their trail of bloody savagery. We 
received vivid accounts of the butchery from eye- 
witnesses — still too terrified to exaggerate, if per- 
chance there be in the realms of fiction details more 
sickening than the facts of Demir Hissar. There 
were over twenty victims who, left for dead, yet 
survived the bayonet to tell the tale. Prior to the 
Bulgarian evacuation, over one hundred non-com- 
batant Greeks, including the bishop and three 
priests, were arrested by the order of an officer 
of gendarmery, and imprisoned in an unfinished 
Bulgarian school. In the yard of the school the 
murderers caused a circular trench to be dug, and, 
having grouped their prisoners around this, they 
poked out the eyes of some, smashed in the heads 
of others, and bayoneted the remainder. They then 
flung the corpses into the trench and covered them 
up. One victim at least was buried alive but 
miraculously hved to recount the narrative, which 
was confirmed by a subsequent examination of 
the martyred bodies. These unthinkable acts, 
my readers, were committed by soldiers, who 
coupled with this unparalleled barbarism rape and 
robbery. 

Nigrita, Serres, Doxato and Demir Hissar are 
the landmarks of the Bulgarian retreat. They can 
be dealt with individually, because in these cases 
the savagery found expression on a large scale. It 
is, however, impossible to tabulate the many instances 
where similar vengeance was exacted from smaller 
hamlets or isolated farmsteads, and we have passed 



BULGARIAN ATROCITIES 357 

unmarked the ravages committed around Kilkich, 
the tragedies of Xanthie and Dedeagatch, the muti' 
lation of wounded soldiers, and the massacre of the 
hostages taken from Kavala and Doiran. 

Correspondents with the Servian army have a 
similar tale to tell. Townships destroyed with a 
ferocity unparalleled by the Turks at their worst, 
maimed warriors massacred on the field of battle, 
Moslem peasants slaughtered the while their homes 
were razed to the ground, old women and young 
maidens violated by a frenzied soldiery — all these 
horrors are testified to by a commission composed 
of one French, one German, and one Norwegian 
doctor, a French journalist and a cinematograph 
operator. And the guilt-proving photographs are 
before me as I write. 

Could we have altogether blamed the Greek and 
Servian soldiers if, maddened by this unthinkable 
savagery, they had turned with like fury upon the 
perpetrators? It is necessary to go back over fifty 
years — to the dark days of the Mutiny — to find a 
parallel in English history. Then EngHsh women 
were outraged and slaughtered by heathen blacks, 
and we are told that when British soldiers caught 
the fiends who committed the foul deeds, they 
blew them alive from the cannon's mouth. British 
infantry, at least, gave no quarter, and the world 
justified their action. 

The Greeks returned good for evil. They cared 
for Bulgarian wounded as for their own, and they 
respected and fed their prisoners. These things I 
saw. Yet I do not wish to assert that the record 
of their army is stainless. I consider it possible. 



358 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

nay probable, that in the case of this conscript army, 
where almost the entire male population of a country 
was under arms, and where all sorts and conditions 
of men were herded together, there may have been 
some instances where more violent spirits, unnerved 
by the scenes they witnessed, ran amuck ; but I can 
assert without fear of contradiction that such cases, 
if they occurred, were isolated, and were perpetrated 
in flagrant, if excusable, disobedience to the orders 
issued by the superior officers. The wonder is not 
that there may have been individual excesses, but 
that a single Bulgarian escaped the vengeance of the 
victors. No instance of any atrocity committed by 
a Hellene came to my knowledge, or to that of either 
of my colleagues of the Press, although we were 
free to roam where we willed within the region where 
the alleged misdeeds must necessarily have been 
committed. 

Let it not be thought that I have delivered my- 
self to the task of stating a case against the Bul- 
garians. I have merely recorded a page in history. 
I have passed unheeded the hideous details of 
the massacres, the systematic spoilation of the rich 
Greek villages during the Bulgarian occupation, 
the kidnapping of civilians for ransom, the expul- 
sion of citizens that their property might be seized, 
and the tender of worthless raspitchas (receipts) in 
lieu of cash. All these outrages against what we 
are accustomed to term civilisation were perpetrated 
on the unfortunate subject populations, and were 
attested and deplored even in the columns of Bul- 
garian newspapers. 

The effect of this conduct on Moslem thought 



BULGARIAN ATROCITIES 359 

will be gathered from the following extract from the 
Constantinople Ikdam : 

" We see before us the savage Bulgarians, a race 
without humanity, without honour, without civih- 
sation. Compare their deeds with those of the 
Mongolians. You will find them more monstrous. 
The Bulgarians have walked roughshod over 
every principle of mercy and humanity — the 
fundamental pretensions of their pretended 
Christianity." 

\Ihe numerous " unpleasant " photographs of massacred bodies, 
etc., in the Author's possession have been omitted from this 
volume for obvious reasons.] 



APPENDIX 

THE SECOND SERVIAN CAMPAIGN 

[At Greek headquarters we were out of touch with the operations of 
the Servian army against the Bulgarians, and the information which 
reached us was limited to the bare facts necessary for the guidance of 
King Constantine's staff. The object of this chapter, therefore, is but to 
complete the reader's knowledge of the Macedonian campaigns by a 
brief recapitulation of the most important details of the Servian vic- 
tories — Author.] 

Throughout the long dreary months of armed 
occupation by the four Bulgarian armies under the 
supreme command of General Savoff, the fourth, 
and strongest, was concentrated in face of the con- 
tested territory held by the Servians. It comprised 
a total of 104 battalions and 6 squadrons of cavalry. 
This force was deployed in an angular formation, 
having the town of Istib as its summit and running 
thence along the River Zletovska to the north-east, 
and to Radovishte to the south-east ; the front occu- 
pied a total length of about 75 miles. Against this 
concentration the Serbs placed their I and III 
Armies, the former (60 battalions, 26 squadrons, 145 
cannon and 92 machine guns) stretching from 
Gievgeli to Veles, and the latter (44 battalions, 8 
squadrons, 96 cannon, and 64 machine guns) on 
the line Veles-Kriva (Egri) Palanka and Gradatz- 
Golemi vis-Gradishte. 

The Bulgarian IV Army on the one hand and the 

861 



362 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

Servian I and III Armies on the other, were, there- 
fore, practically equal in strength. 

An atmosphere of admirable good-fellowship per- 
vaded the rival lines. The outposts exchanged 
visits, passed the dreary, monotonous hours in card- 
playing, and, on the day for which the treacherous 
attack was ordered, the Bulgarians invited the 
Servian officers of the outposts of Yejevo Polje to 
a banquet. The Serbs accepted the invitation ; the 
revellers ate, made merry, and were photographed 
together ; but shortly after the return to their respec- 
tive camps the Bulgarian hosts fell upon their erst- 
while guests and butchered them in their sleep. 
Under such circumstances, without parallel in the 
annals of organised warfare, commenced the Serbo- 
Bulgarian War of 19 13. 

Thereafter events moved quickly. Before the 
Serbs recovered from their surprise a hostile brigade 
from Doiran had captured Gievgeli; another from 
Strumnitza had thrown the Slavs across on to the 
right bank of the river at Gradsko ; Krivolak was m 
imminent danger ; Retke Boukve was lost ; near 
Istib disaster was averted only by the timely arrival 
of reinforcements; and the III Army, finding its left 
in danger of envelopment, was forced to evacuate the 
height 605. 

During the day (30th June) General Putnik and 
his staff carefully examined the situation, when, far 
from showing the white feather, it was decided to 
assume the offensive the following morning. The 
critical battle for the possession of the Bregalnitza 
River then commenced. 

The Battle of the Bregalnitza. — On ist Julx., 



APPENDIX 865 

hostilities were resumed, and in the early hours the 
Serbs attacked the position of Drenek, which had 
been strongly fortified with artillery during the night. 
The forces engaged were approximately equal in 
number, and it was realised that success in this first 
important engagement of the new war would exert 
a vital influence upon the ultimate result. Thus the 
battle raged with ever-increasing energy, and rapidly 
spread towards the summits 550 and 650. Little by 
little the Servian artillery demonstrated its superior- 
ity, until the Bulgars, under a hail of lead and shell, 
were forced out of their trenches. Then the Servian 
bayonets rushed across the open. Prince Arsene 
led his cavalry to the charge, and the Bul- 
garians fled across to the left bank of the Zletovska 
River, having abandoned many cannon and machine 
guns. 

At the same time a violent combat was proceeding 
farther north towards Retke-Boukve where, after a 
characteristic struggle between the two armies, the 
Serbs were again victorious and regained possession 
of the position. By nightfall, the Servian I Army 
(under command of the Crown Prince Alexander) 
occupied the line Lesovo-Ratavitza-Drenek-Tsar 
Vrh-Golemi vis. 

The morning of 2nd July was heralded by the 
thunder of cannon, and the battle recommenced over 
the whole line. For some time the advantage 
swayed from side to side. Attack was followed by 
counter attack, until at length the Bulgarian front 
wavered, the white flag of surrender fluttered out 
along the line, and parliament aires approached 
the Servian advance guard. This was apparently 



364 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

but a Bulgarian ruse to gain time in which to stave 
off disaster and to get their artillery up on to the 
positions of Raitchanski Rid ; but the Serbs never- 
theless succeeded in capturing 15 field guns, 36 
ammunition wagons, 9 mountain guns, 4 machine 
guns, 100 officers, and 2720 non-commissioned 
officers and men. 

General Putnik now ordered the I Army to take 
Kotchana, the Choumadia I Division to march on 
Raitchanski Rid, the Morava II Division to proceed 
to Toursko Roudovo in order to envelop the left 
wing of the Bulgarian army, the cavalry division 
to maintain communications between the I and III 
Armies, and the Danube I and II Divisions to cover 
Kuestendil-Kriva-Palanka. 

During the day, the operations of the III Army 
successfully drove back the Bulgarians on to the left 
bank of the Bregalnitza. The position of the Timok 
II Division had, however, become increasingly 
critical, with the result that headquarters found it 
necessary to send one brigade of volunteers and one 
of Montenegrins to its assistance. On the evening 
of 2nd July, the line held by the III Army was 
Balsan-Ribnik-Dragovo-Chedba. 

The 3rd July passed unmarked by any great event. 
The Servians continued to drive out the remnants 
of the Bulgarian forces who had remained, and 
the great battle of Bregalnitza, of the importance of 
which our brief narrative necessarily conveys no 
adequate idea, ended with the complete triumph of 
King Peter's soldiers. The heroism demonstrated 
by both sides, the countless examples of self-sacrifice, 
must be left to the reader's imagination. As to the 



APPENDIX 865 

Serbs, they took little count of the cost, for Sllvnitza 
had been avenged. 

Raitchanski Rid. — It was to Raitchanski Rid, a 
veritable natural fortress, that the Bulgars retreated 
after their defeat on the Bregalnitza. There they 
assembled their weakened IV Army, with 80 
cannon. 

The Servians opened the attack on this new 
position at 1 1 a.m. on 4th July. For some hours a 
fiercely contested artillery duel proceeded without 
any decisive result, but towards the afternoon the 
Servian guns commenced to gain ground. The 
Bulgarian fire consistently weakened, until, at 4 p.m., 
the combined Servian and Montenegrin infantry 
rushed across the open and took the hostile trenches 
at the point of the bayonet. Once masters of 
Raitchanski Rid, the Serbs marched on Kotchana, 
which town, after a short combat, fell into their hands 
at 10 a.m. on 5th July. 

Krivolak-Istib. — While the right wing of the 
Bulgarian army had suffered the pangs of defeat, 
the battle had been more favourable to their arms at 
Krivolak and Istib. For four days a fierce and 
sanguinary engagement raged at Krivolak. The 
Servian Timok II Division defended resolutely, 
but was driven back step by step until, exhausted and 
decimated, it was forced to retire, and concen- 
trated at the village of Kaslare on 5th July. Here, 
strengthened by its reinforcements, it succeeded in 
holding its own in the face of the persistent attack of 
two Bulgarian divisions. 

In the meantime the Greeks were approaching 
Strumnitza, thus forcing the Bulgarians, their line of 



366 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

retreat threatened, to deliver a final and desperate 
attack on the Servian forces. The onslaught was 
subsequently repulsed, and General Kovatcheff was 
obliged to operate the retreat of his artillery and 
transport towards the Strumnitza Valley. 

Around Istib the battle raged with murderous 
intensity without any definite advantage to either 
side. The precarious situation of the Timok II 
Division at Krivolak, moreover, obliged the Servian 
III Army to hold its position on the right bank of 
the Bregalnitza River. After the capture of Raitch- 
anski, however, General Putnik was able to dispatch 
the Choumadia I Division to the assistance of the 
III Army. This division arrived after a forced 
march of 24 hours at Hadrifakeik at 8 o'clock on the 
evening of 5th July; but despite this reinforce- 
ment of his troops the Commander hesitated to take 
the offensive. On 8th July, Servian headquarters 
ordered him to capture Istib at all costs, and 
instructed the I Army to detach the Morava II 
Division, which was to cross the Bregalnitza between 
Tsernovtsi and Koutchitchino, to operate against 
the rear of the Bulgarian army. 

The Bulgarians then became convinced of the 
uselessness of further resistance, and hastily aban- 
doned Istib — the capture of which completed the 
Servian victory over the whole front. They re- 
treated from Kotchana towards Tzarevo-Selo, and 
from Istib through Radovishte, which town was 
entered by the Servian cavalry on 9th July. 

GovEDARNiK. — ^July 17th to 2 2nd. — After the 
occupation of Istib, Radovishte and Kotchana, the 
Servian III Army concentrated around the latter 



APPENDIX 367 

town. They were stoutly opposed, and incessant 
fighting proceeded, but the country was of so 
mountainous a nature that the use of field artillery 
was impracticable save along the road Kotchana- 
Tzarevo-Selo. No decisive result was registered 
until the 19th when, after a severe engagement, the 
Serbs: captured Tserni Kamen (825) and advanced 
towards Grlen. During the night and the morning 
of 20th July the Montenegrins continued the assault 
and succeeded in occupying several Bulgarian 
positions, but were subsequently counter-attacked 
and forced back on to the line Presseka-Bezikovo. 
Following up their victory the Bulgars continued 
to drive the mountaineers before them, and some 
sections of their army actually succeeded in recross- 
ing the Bregalnitza. A heavy fog now settled like 
a pall over the battle-field, and, profiting by the cover 
thus produced, the Bulgars turned the Montenegrin 
right, occupied Veliki, and attacked Little Gove- 
darnik. 

The situation then became critical, and so con- 
tinued until the Commandant of the I Army, in 
the nick of time, ordered his right to operate a 
demonstration on the Bulgarian flank. The move- 
ment was successful and the Serbs regained the 
offensive, following which there was a hand-to-hand 
fight in the trenches at Little Govedarnik, resulting 
in the retreat of the Bulgarians. 

At Great Govedarnik, however, the Bulgars with- 
stood all the Montenegrin efforts to drive them out. 
Next day a division of reinforcements arrived from 
Stratsin to the the assistance of the allies, and when 
the Bulgarian troops recommenced their offensive 



368 THE BALKAN COCKPIT 

from Grlen, they were met by the fire of the Servian 
artillery. 

The 2 1 St July was marked by a hotly contested 
artillery duel at Koutchevnitza, on the right bank 
of the Kamenitsa, and the following day the Serbs 
delivered a general attack on the front and flank of 
Great Govedarnik. For some time heavy fighting 
proceeded. The Bulgarians now made a determined 
effort to reverse the fortunes of war, but at length, 
and undeterred by the appalling casualties of the 
day, the Serbs delivered a final assault, and cap- 
tured the position at a cost of 3000 men hors de 
combat. 

The object of the Servian army was to advance 
their I Army towards Kuestendil, and their III 
Army towards Doubnitza ; but the Bulgarians 
were in great force, and strongly fortified in almost 
inaccessible positions. The country over which the 
fighting now proceeded is exceedingly mountainous 
in nature — the average height of the tors being 
3500 feet above sea level. Progress was, therefore, 
but slow, and though the combats continued unceas- 
ingly, the Serbs hesitated to pay the toll which the 
capture of the Bulgarian positions would have en- 
tailed. It is probable that, had the Servians pro- 
ceeded with the determination which characterised 
their operations on the Bregalnitza, they would have 
succeeded in driving the Bulgarians over their old 
frontier. But their military object had been gained, 
and though their subsequent comparative inactivity 
permitted the enemy to detach large forces from this 
front and send them over against the Greeks in the 
Struma Valley, it is but little wonder that, after 



Appendix sm 

the sacrifice of manhood which had been occasioned 
during the two wars, the Serbs should have been 
content with the successes already gained. 

Once Servia realised the disadvantage to which 
the sacrifice of manhood had been occasion- 
ing the Greek army, the Servian III Army was 
ordered to renew a vigorous offensive and to get 
into contact with the Hellenic forces. A deter- 
mined attack was then delivered against the hostile 
positions at Grlen, and, despite the desperate 
resistance offered by the Bulgarians, the first line 
of trenches was taken when the news arrived of 
the impending conclusion of the armistice at 
Bukarest. 



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m Public, etc., etc. 

Chats on the Violoncello 

By Olga Racster. A history of the 'cello from earliest 
times and an account of the great makers and players. 

Chats on Astronomy 

By H. P. Hollis, of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. 
President of the British Astronomical Association. 

Chats on Electricity 

By Frank Broadbent, M.I.E.E. 

Stories from the Greek Legends 

By C. Gasquoine Hartley. 

A History of Engraving from its Inception 

to the Time of Thomas Bewick 

By Stanley Austin. 

Gardens Past and Present 

Bv K. L. Davidson. 



UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 
LIBRARY 




Acme Library Card Pocket 

Under Pat. " Ref . Index File." 
Made by LIBRARY BUREAU 



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